The promise of the national parks was to save and protect special places so all Americans may experience their heritage. The current administration is eroding this away.
As of 9 a.m. on Friday, the protections for what was once Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments ceased to exist, and all the surrounding public lands opened to resource extraction.
Sixty days ago, President Trump signed an order in Salt Lake City to reduce the size of the two monuments—Bears Ears by 85 percent and Grand Staircase by half. Today, they officially open to mining claims. There’s been a lot of fuss in the media about how these claims work, because they’re governed by the General Mining Law of 1872. That means anyone with motivation and four stakes can, technically, rush out and claim their own plot, as long as you have the $212 filing fee. But there probably won’t be an 1800s-style land rush.