3

Historically many U.S. national monuments were upgraded to national parks after a few years, e.g. Grand Canyon (monument 1908, park 1919), Jackson Hole (monument 1943, park 1950) or Glacier Bay (monument 1978, park 1980). Surely it would be even easier today to upgrade a monument to a park, given greater public interest in conservation and a more powerful environmental lobby than existed back then?

Was there ever a serious effort, prior to the 2017 reduction, to upgrade Grand Staircase-Escalante from a National Monument to a National Park? If so, why did it fail? If not, why not?

The Wilderness Society, among others, appears to believe that the president has no authority to reduce or eliminate national monuments, only to create or expand them. If so, upgrading a monument to a park is superfluous in terms of the protection offered, and only needed to provide more amenities to visitors. However, I don’t know how widespread this view is. Although I am not a lawyer, it seems to me that once Congress designates a park, that would bind the president, but until then, how could a former president’s declaration bind a future president?

I’m having trouble locating any effort, because all my searches turn up Rep. Chris Stewart’s "too little, too late" proposal that post-dates the 2017 reduction and would therefore include only the reduced monument.

  • 1
    Not a full answer, but a national park is not an 'upgraded' national monument. They serve different purposes: a national park is made to preserve land for its beauty and tourism value and is designated by Congress, whereas a national monument is designated by a president to protect historical or scientfically valuable objects. – Giter Mar 22 '18 at 19:55
  • Several examples are provided, but statistically, were there really "many" and did the "upgrade" take place within "a few years"? A counter-example to "a few years" would be Pinnacles: Declared a national monument in 1908, it became a national park in 2013, more than one hundred years later. – njuffa Mar 22 '18 at 20:22
  • Guessing from my own experience, National Parks provide a good deal more infrastructure than National Monuments, and so require more staff & a larger budget, which probably aren't justified given its remoteness. – jamesqf Mar 22 '18 at 21:57
  • @jamesqf I don't think remoteness is the reason; consider Kobuk Valley National Park (less than 10,000 visitors/year, access by air taxi only) or the National Park of American Samoa (only last year exceeded 30,000 visitors). Far more remote with far fewer visitors than any Utah National Monument, which are all reachable by road within a day's drive from major cities. And GSENM has more infrastructure than Kobuk Valley or Katmai National Parks (it's even stronger in Canada, where some parks have less than 100 visitors/year). – gerrit Mar 23 '18 at 10:30

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.