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In 2007, when I was in a position to move my family and construction business to southern Utah, moving to Escalante was an easy choice to make for one reason: Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.

Raising a family in clean air and with the monument as our backyard was the best decision I ever made. My business now employs and serves long-time locals as well as people who, like me, want to live in a spectacular location with a vibrant and growing community. Escalante is not without problems. We have a building boom and a labor and housing shortage. But those are not the worst problems for a rural community to have.

Altering the monument in any way is jeopardizing what works best for Escalante. It was very disappointing to me as a member of the Escalante-Boulder Chamber of Commerce when our request to speak with Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke as he visited the monument in May was denied after repeated attempts. Why those of us driving the economy were purposefully excluded from a "listening tour" makes me very concerned for my future here.

I urge Zinke to recommend no modification to the national treasure that is Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.

Jacob Croft