Sunday, July 16, 2017

Zinke: Some lands may be ‘better suited’ as rec areas

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said his Saturday tour of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument reveals that “a lot of the use is heavy recreation,” but he stopped short of saying some of those lands should be downgraded from monument status. In the midst of reviewing whether 27 national monuments are appropriately sized and created under the Antiquities Act, Zinke said that some lands now within national monument boundaries are “better suited” under National Recreation Area status. Various uses within national recreation areas are determined by the language written to create them and could allow commercial logging, which is banned in monument lands. While Zinke already has recommended National Recreation Area status for some new monument lands in Utah, he said if he recommends any border alterations in the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument, doing so would have to protect the land’s unique biodiversity that led to the monument designation. "Generally I think you have to go to science on what objects, and in this case biodiversity, so let’s look at what that means and how do we protect it,” Zinke said during a brief Saturday news conference along the shore of Hyatt Lake that included comments by U.S. Rep. Greg Walden. “This site is unique among the 27 sites I’m reviewing, not just because it’s in Oregon.” Zinke Visit Sign-wielding protesters from both sides also attended the news conference in the parking lot outside the Hyatt Lake Resort. Zinke is looking specifically into whether the monument lands are the smallest necessary to protect the land or objects they are designed to protect, whether the lands are appropriately classified as of historic or scientific interest, and their impact on multiple-use. The review also includes looking into the economic impacts of monument status and whether the federal government can properly manage those lands...more

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