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Interior Secretary Zinke issues order on big game migration corridors

SALT LAKE CITY – Secretary of the Interior, Ryan Zinke, makes another visit to Utah, this time to announce changes that are designed to better protect big game migration and wildlife corridors.

Zinke signed the secretarial order, surrounded by hunters and other outdoorsman in The Salt Palace.  The order will require state, local and federal governments to coordinate their efforts to make them more efficient, so people will be able to better enjoy the outdoors.  He says, “Each of our departments that have a part in this, including our national parks, Bureau of Land Management and all the bureaus within the Interior are working together.  It would ensure our management plans will look at the public/private part of it.”

However, before Zinke signed the order, over 100 protesters decried his decision to reduce the size of the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments.  The Southern Utah Wildlife Alliance set up the protest, and organizer Oliva Juarez says, “Secretary Zinke came to Utah a year ago, rode horseback, and had the opportunity to experience our amazing and treasured wildlands, and he still went back to D.C. and made the recommendation.”

Juarez says the Bears Ears National Monument is important to her, personally, because that’s where she and her brother spent their last moments before he joined the Marine Corps.  “They are integral components of the reasons why a lot of us Stay in Utah.”

She believes lawsuits will force the federal government to reverse President Trump’s decision to shrink the monuments.  Other protesters hope Zinke will reverse his own recommendation, but Zinke says, that’s not going to happen.  “The revised boundary today is still larger than Bryce Canyon and Zion [National Park] combined.  So, we didn’t take one square inch out of federal protection,” he says.

Zinke also had strong words about the outdoor retailer Patagonia and their campaign to “protect” Bears Ears.  He says if Patagonia really cared about the environment, they wouldn’t have some of their products made in China.  He says, “If they want to be like Apple and bring their assets back and manufacture them in an area that has responsible regulation, I’d like to see that.”