This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2017, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
The Utah Legislature's first order of business this session was to pass resolutions targeting the state's two massive national monuments.
HCR11 calls on President Donald Trump to revoke the recent Bears Ears designation, covering 1.35 million acres in San Juan County, and HCR12 calls for the reduction of the 1.9 million-acre Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, long blamed for an alleged economic and cultural malaise hanging over Garfield and Kane counties.
Gov. Gary Herbert signed both nonbinding measures.
Dozens of area businesses say the Grand Staircase monument has revived economic prospects, and their owners plan to pack a public hearing Monday in Panguitch to oppose a similar resolution under consideration by the Garfield County Commission.
The Legislature's quick enactment of anti-monument resolutions was the last straw for the outdoor industry, long unhappy with Utah's persistent push to wrest control of public land from federal authorities.
In response, the representatives of the Outdoor Retailer convention announced the organization was abandoning Salt Lake City, which had hosted its twice-yearly trade shows for two decades.
However, another resolution crossed the finish line late Thursday.
HCR1 softens the state's stance on a land transfer, the issue that has rankled the outdoor retailers for years.
Under the bill, the state's key goal would be to gain "management responsibility" of public lands rather than outright ownership as specified in Utah's 2012 land-transfer law, known as HB148. It also sees litigation as a last resort, to be pursued should legislative and executive actions fail.
Lawmakers also converted an annual $2 million contract to Big Game Forever, an anti-predator activist group connected to Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife, into an ongoing appropriation to lobby for state management of sage grouse though some questioned why the group has failed to divulge publicly how it spends taxpayer dollars.