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No Changes to Canyons of the Ancients National Monument Recommended As Review Concludes

Bureau of Land Management

Canyons of the Ancients National Monument is no longer under review for possible downsizing or rescinding. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke announced Friday that he will recommend to President Trump that the 164,000-acre monument west of Cortez remain the same. The area was one of 27 national monuments created by presidential proclamation over the past two decades that have been scrutinized by the Trump administration. Zinke has already issued an interim report recommending that the 1.3-million-acre Bears Ears monument in Southeast Utah be made smaller. Canyons of the Ancients was opposed by many locals when it was designated in 2000, but since then it has become popular with both tourists and local recreationists. Cortez Mayor Karen Sheek tells KSJD the city is “really pleased to see that Canyons will continue to preserve those precious resources that are in our neighborhood.” In statements, Colorado Senator Cory Gardner and Representative Scott Tipton praised Zinke’s recommendation, saying they had urged him to keep the monument intact. Governor John Hickenlooper said he was grateful that Zinke “respected the overwhelming consensus in Colorado” to keep the monument. But a regional director for the Wilderness Society, Scott Miller, said that while Zinke’s decision was good, “It is not clear to us why an area with such obvious cultural, historic and biological treasures . . . would have to be reviewed in the first place.”

Gail Binkly is a career journalist who has worked for the Colorado Springs Gazette and Cortez Journal. She is currently a freelance writer as well as the editor of the Four Corners Free Press, based in Cortez.
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