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Where protected lands stand after national monument review

By: BRADY McCOMBS, Associated Press
December 5, 2017 Updated: December 5, 2017 at 7:01 pm
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photo - FILE - This July 15, 2016, file photo, shows the "Moonhouse" in McLoyd Canyon which is part of Bears Ears National Monument, near Blanding, Utah. President Donald Trump is expected to announce plans to shrink Bears Ears National Monument as well as Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in Utah that were created by past Democratic presidents. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)
FILE - This July 15, 2016, file photo, shows the "Moonhouse" in McLoyd Canyon which is part of Bears Ears National Monument, near Blanding, Utah. President Donald Trump is expected to announce plans to shrink Bears Ears National Monument as well as Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in Utah that were created by past Democratic presidents. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File) 

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Earlier this year, President Donald Trump ordered U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to conduct an unprecedented review of 27 monuments established by former presidents over more than two decades on lands and waters revered for their natural beauty and historical significance.

Zinke said Tuesday he's confident the president will follow his recommendations, which include calls to reduce two other monuments in the U.S. West and to modify rules at six others. He also has said he's recommending the creation of three new monuments.

Zinke released his full report Tuesday, which was previously leaked. Here's a breakdown of Zinke's recommendations:

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MONUMENTS TO BE DOWNSIZED

Trump will shrink Bears Ears National Monument by about 85 percent to 315 square miles, divided into two separate areas. He plans to downsize the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument by nearly half to 1,569 square miles, divided into three areas.

Tribal and conservation groups are suing to block those cuts.

Zinke also advised trimming Gold Butte in Nevada and Cascade Siskiyou in Oregon, but the president hasn't announced final decision on those monuments.

Zinke said Tuesday the cuts at Gold Butte would mainly come around a water district that shouldn't have been included in the boundaries. He said he recommends making clear that hunting and fishing are allowed and asking Congress to approve a co-management plan to allows Native American tribes to help run the monument. Gold Butte protects nearly 300,000 acres of desert landscapes featuring rock art, sandstone towers and wildlife habitat for the threatened Mojave Desert tortoise and other species.

Zinke declined to specify how many acres he wants to remove from monument status, stressing that the administration is working with Nevada's governor and congressional delegation to find a solution.

Similarly, Zinke declined specifics on Cascade-Siskiyou, which protects about 113,000 acres in an area where three mountain ranges converge. Changes will center on recent expansion of the site, which was first created by Clinton in 2000. Much of the additional land is on private property, while some is on land previously designated for timber production, Zinke said.

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NO DOWNSIZING, BUT RULE CHANGES

Zinke proposed more access for people and industry and other changes at six monuments:

— Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks and Rio Grande Del Norte, New Mexico: Modifications will be made to protect the long-standing culture of grazing and ensure hunters and fishers don't lose access, Zinke said. At Organ Mountains, the U.S. Border Patrol will do a border-safety assessment to give Zinke a list of possible improvements to ensure they can do their job. He will also request congressional authority to give tribes co-management.

— Katahdin Woods and Waters, Maine: Zinke said he wants to allow more trees to be cut in some parts by a National Park Service company, and not commercial logging, to make the forest healthy by thinning and landscape improvement. He also wants to ensure that "traditional uses" like snowmobiling and hunting are taken into account in a management plan.

— Northeast Canyons and Seamounts, Maine: Allow commercial fishing in the first marine monument in the Atlantic Ocean.

— Pacific Remote Islands, Pacific Ocean: Allow commercial fishing within the marine monument that covers nearly 87,000 square miles (225,330 square kilometers) near Hawaii.

— Rose Atoll, Pacific Ocean: Allow commercial fishing in the 13,500-square-mile (34,965-square-kilometer) marine monument around the Rose Atoll in American Samoa, a U.S territory.

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STAYING INTACT

During his travels to visit some of the monuments under review, Zinke said these six monuments would remain untouched: Upper Missouri River Breaks in Montana; Sand to Snow in California; Grand Canyon-Parashant in Arizona; Craters of the Moon in Idaho; Hanford Reach in Washington; and Canyons of the Ancients in Colorado.

Zinke has been silent on the other 11 monuments under review, from Giant Sequoia in California to the Marianas Trench southwest of Guam, but they are presumed to remain intact.

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NEW MONUMENTS

Zinke also recommended Trump create three monuments, including one in his home state of Montana:

— Badger-Two Medicine in an area within the Lewis and Clark National Forest in northwest Montana. Zinke said he sees a great opportunity to help generate some income for the locals and foster more cultural understanding by creating a monument in a sacred place for the Blackfeet Nation. He said he would request congressional authority to give the tribe co-management.

— Medgar Evers' home in Jackson, Mississippi, where the first field secretary for the NAACP was assassinated on June 12, 1963. Evers organized boycotts over segregation during the civil rights movement.

— Camp Nelson near Nicholasville, Kentucky, which was established in 1863 as a 700-bed Union Army hospital, supply depot and recruiting center for African-American troops in the state.

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