This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2017, and information in the article may be outdated.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.
During his recent trip to Utah, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke intended to spend time meeting and listening to locals in the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante regions. However, it seems he spent the vast majority of his time palling around with the likes of Utah Rep. Mike Noel.
In a Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environment Interim Committee meeting this past May, Noel spoke of his time with Zinke. Noel recounted spending between four and five hours in a helicopter flying over the Bears Ears region, three hours touring Bears Ears by horse and a 45-minute plane ride back to Kanab. So, while Zinke spent upwards of eight hours with Noel only accounting for the time spouted in this meeting he spent a whopping hour-and-a-half combined with the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition and the Friends of Cedar Mesa. To top it off, Zinke did not meet with business owners in the Grand Staircase region or make an effort to associate with those rallying in the area.
It is clear with whom Zinke wanted to spend his time in Utah. Noel may live in the area, but he does not represent the views of all locals who live there.
Reva Patricia Laurella