By: Meekael Hailu
President Trump has made another divisive order in his initial year of being the President of the United States. He has decided to shrink the Bear Ears National Park in Utah by 85% and to also reduce the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument by half. This momentous decision was fueled by the recognition that these two areas hold valuable resources that can be extracted and turned into a profit. Similar to this administration’s Clean Power Plan repeal, it is fueled by financial reasons that they believe will result in more positives than negatives for our country.
The extent to which the Bear Ear will be reduced will be from the initial 1.35 million acres to the 201,397 acres and Grand Staircase Escalante from 1.9 million acres to 997,490 acres. This was an executive order signed by the President earlier this year in April, and he stated that this will “end these abuses and return control of the people, the people of all the states, the people of the United States.” One prime example of how this administration has changed National Parks is through admission price changes. The National Parks have been forced to increases their charges at some of their popular locations to upwards of $70 per car. This increase in prices will result in allocating funds to improve the much-needed infrastructure of the parks, and government resources haven’t been the most generous recently.
This is a change that will ripple throughout many facets of this country. Many people and organizations are distraught over this news, including the well-known, environmentally-friendly clothing brand Patagonia. National Parks are often regarded as the symbols of natural beauty that are featured throughout the United States. Ever since the inception of the National Park Service, they have been an attraction for Americans and foreign tourists as well. Once you take away a part of our National Parks, you take away another natural landscape that shows the United States’ magnificence. Former President Franklin Roosevelt said it best, “There is nothing so American as our national parks…. The fundamental idea behind the parks…is that the country belongs to the people, that it is in process of making for the enrichment of the lives of all of us.”
Image via Wikimedia Commons.