Obama monument decision stuns many; worries remain
In a move that stunned many Arizonans, it has been reported that the staff of current President Barack Obama has sent word that he will not move forward in designating the area in and around the Grand Canyon as a national monument.
As reported in the Arizona Daily Sun, the administration stated there are no plans to designate the 1.7 million acres of land on the north and south side of the Grand Canyon for protection by presidential proclamation.
This area was proposed for designation by Arizona Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Tucson.
In 2015, Grijalva proposed to the administration that the public lands that are currently managed by both the Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service needed more protection.
But while many conservationists throughout Arizona are pleased to hear this information, one official with one of the state’s largest conservation groups says he won’t be celebrating until President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration takes place.
“I’ll celebrate at 12:01 on January 20th,” said Jim Unmacht, who is the president of the Arizona Sportsmen for Wildlife Conservation. “He (Obama) still has two weeks to change his mind.”
Unmacht noted that since Obama has been in office he has designated over 50 million acres of lands and water all over the U.S.
Unmacht said, “I don’t trust him (Obama), I’ll believe it when I see it in two weeks.”
The group is just one of many, including the Mohave Sportsman Club that has gone on record as opposing the designation.
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey was staunchly against the designation and promised that if it was made that Arizona, “Would take every step necessary – legally and legislatively to stop the designation.”
The Arizona Game & Fish Commission also was on record in opposition.
It has been reported that many of Arizona’s Indian tribes, including Hopi, Navajo, Hualapai and Havasupai supported the monument designation.
But even with this news, Grijalva says he isn’t done. He said that he planned on introducing new legislation that will protect the Grand Canyon.