This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2016, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Lyndon Johnson gives us a shining example of last-minute vision in redrock country. While he dressed in his White House bedroom for Richard Nixon's inauguration on Jan. 20, 1969, LBJ signed a final round of proclamations. He created Marble Canyon National Monument later added to Grand Canyon National Park. He expanded Capitol Reef by six times and added crucial acreage to Arches. (Both were national monuments established decades earlier by presidents using the Antiquities Act.) These were Johnson's last accomplishments as president, likely completed while putting on his pants.
President Barack Obama has the same chance to make conservation history in canyon country. He has before him a groundbreaking Bears Ears National Monument proposal, respectfully submitted by native people. He's considering a Greater Grand Canyon Heritage National Monument that permanently protects the Greater Grand Canyon watershed.
Obama has until Jan. 20 to act on behalf of the people, the land and the future. When Donald Trump becomes our next president, we'll lose these opportunities to protect irreplaceable landscapes, for Trump's picks for secretary of the interior and EPA administrator make his anti-stewardship agenda unequivocally clear.
Don't wait, President Obama. Act now to protect Bears Ears and Grand Canyon.
Salt Lake City