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Posted: 10:08 AM- CEDAR CITY - With the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument entering its second decade, it's time to forget the days of yore - and ore.

So says Garfield County Engineer Brian Bremner, who challenged scientists Tuesday to pass on a new way of thinking to the next generation that will manage the 1.9 million-acre preserve in southern Utah.

"Extractive industries like coal mining and timber harvesting are the old days," he said, "and science represents the new days."

Bremner was one of several speakers to address scientists, land managers and government officials attending a "Learning From the Land" science symposium at Southern Utah University.

The Cedar City meeting marks the 10-year anniversary - set for Monday - of the monument. On Sept. 18, 1996, then-President Clinton created the preserve, which the federal Bureau of Land Management oversees.

The monument - with its vast, austere and rugged landscapes - set the stage for a contentious decade as border communities fought to preserve a way of life that became more complex on lands managed with more scrutiny by the federal government.

Bremner said the children in the area need to see how pure scientific research mandated in the monument's proclamation can help better manage the land for multiple uses than the not-so-pure politics of the past. "Science seeks truth and should be used in making resource-based decisions," he said. "It's amazing to me how the political process makes poor decisions."

He pinned the burden of that science-based management on researchers at the symposium, who Tuesday through Thursday will hold workshops and discussions on topics ranging from soil surveys to economic impact.

Bremner suggested the scientists reach out to youngsters through education programs.

Tuesday's keynote speaker, Jayne Belnap, a scientist with the U.S. Geological Survey, sees the monument as extraordinary because it was created specifically as a scientific laboratory.

"The tools for science are here," she said. "The monument has impressive geologic diversity that is mapped, and there exists a huge opportunity to do excellent science,"

Other appealing attributes include the monument's mapped road and water sources, current conditions of plants and soils and a plethora of weather stations with their own data manager.

"It's stunning," she said, and excellent for learning how to manage public lands. "The land needs managers and the managers need science."

Jerry Meredith, the monument's first manager, said the symposium should be used to once again get excited about science.

"It's time for reinvigoration," he said.

The newest manager, Brad Exton - who takes over on Monday, the monument's 10th birthday - said love of the land is common ground to build relations between the monument and locals. "Here we have the opportunity to do science for its own sake," Exton said. "It's fantastic."

Monument events set for Saturday

As part of its 10-year anniversary, the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in Kane and Garfield counties is offering free events Saturday at visitor centers in Big Water, Cannonville, Escalante and Kanab.

Events include:

Big Water

- 8 a.m. to 10 a.m., Dinosaur Tracks Field Trip, requiring a high-clearance two-wheel drive vehicle.

- 4 to 6 p.m., open house.

- 4:30 to 5 p.m., overview of Marine Reptiles from the Late Cretaceous Period


- 1 to 4 p.m., pioneer stories of the Upper Paria.

- 4 to 6 p.m., open house.

- 4:30 to 5:30 p.m., Southern Utah Oral History Project.


- Noon to 4 p.m., science potpourri in which once every hour monument researchers will talk about liking lichens, hating noxious weeds and creepy things about bugs.

- 4 to 6 p.m., open house.

- 4:30 to 5 p.m., Monument Archaeologist Matt Zweifel shares secrets of an uncovered prehistoric culture


- 1 to 4 p.m., dinosaur fossil discussions.

- 4 to 6 p.m., open house.

- 4:30 to 5 p.m., "From Research to Education: A Case Study."

Other activities, including a cowboy campfire and astronomy program, also are planned. For additional information, call (435) 644-4680.