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Access Fund Will Sue Federal Government to Defend Bears Ears National Monument


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Shannon Davis · · Lyons, CO · Joined Sep 2015 · Points: 140

Here is the Access Fund's press release. Or cut to the chase and donate to the cause here.

EMBARGOED UNTIL DECEMBER 6, 2017 5:00AM EST.

Access Fund Will Sue Federal Government to Defend BearsEars National Monument 

The non-profit climbing advocacy organization will file a lawsuit against the Trump Administration to protect Bears Ears National Monument, home to world-renowned climbing

Boulder, CO. December 6, 2017 – Access Fund, the national non-profit advocacy organization that protects America’s climbing areas, will take a legal stand against President Trump’s proclamation that orders a reduction of Bears Ears National Monument in southeast Utah, home to world-renowned rock climbing (including the famed Indian Creek). Before leaving office, President Obama used the Antiquities Act to declare the Bears Ears region of southeast Utah a National Monument, protecting this incredible region. 

Access Fund worked on this designation alongside the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition, the previous administration, and other conservation groups, getting “rock climbing” specifically acknowledged as a valuable and appropriate activity. This acknowledgement gave the world-class climbing atIndian Creek, Lockhart Basin, Harts Draw, Arch/Texas Canyon, Comb Ridge, Valley of theGods, and dozens of other climbing areas an added layer of protection and significance in the national monument.

“Bears Ears was the first National Monument proclamation to specifically acknowledge rock climbing as an appropriate and valued recreation activity,” says Brady Robinson, Access Fund Executive Director. “This was a huge win for the climbing community, as the Bears Ears region is home to a substantial amount of world-class climbing. We cannot afford to lose thatacknowledgement or allow the climbing experience to be compromised.”

Under President Trump’s December 4th Presidential Proclamation #9558, rock climbing would also lose its acknowledged status as a valued and appropriate activity, and approximately 40 percent of the climbing areas at Bears Ears would lose enhanced national monument status,including Valley of the Gods, Harts Draw, Lockhart Basin, and a portion of the climbing at IndianCreek. 

In response, Access Fund named President Donald Trump, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, and other administration officials in a lawsuit to defend Bears Ears National Monument on the grounds that President Trump’s Presidential Proclamation #9558 violates both the Antiquities Act and the United States Constitution.The Antiquities Act gives a president the authority to proclaim a National Monument, but it does not give a president the authority to revoke or modify one. That authority is reserved for Congress alone. 

The Antiquities Act has protected many iconic climbing areas—including Mt.Rushmore, Joshua Tree (now a national park), Giant Sequoia, and Devils Tower—and the climbing experience in these areas would look very different today without their enhanced status.

“This is a precedent-setting moment,” says Robinson. “This fight is about more than just protecting the incredible climbing at Bears Ears. Nearly 60% of climbing areas are on federal public lands, and this proclamation threatens the Antiquities Act and the very foundation of our public lands system. Bears Ears is a critical battle in the greater fight for America’s public lands.”

A growing movement of law and policy makers are mounting a systematic attack on federal public lands, rolling back environmental regulations, limiting public input on land management plans, and advancing energy extraction at the expense of recreation and other uses and values of public lands. The two much smaller and disconnected monument units that the TrumpAdministration is attempting to establish appear explicitly designed to optimize oil and gas development opportunities. Much of the area excluded from the original BearsEars National Monument would be opened up to mineral exploration and oil and gas leasing,including lands abutting the world-class climbing at Indian Creek.

The Trump Administration’s attempt to dismantle the landscape-scale protections and land management strategies for Bears Ears National Monument would also drastically compromise the climbing experience and cultural values of the Bears Ears region. Climbers deeply appreciate the experience of climbing in an undeveloped landscape that affords incredible opportunities to enjoy a unique cultural and historical story.Access Fund will fight to protect climbing at Bears Ears National Monument, and climbing areas throughout our public lands system. 

You can learn more about Access Fund and support their work ataccessfund.org.

About Access Fund: Access Fund is the national non-profit advocacy organization that keeps climbing areas open and conserves the climbing environment. Founded in 1991, Access Fund supports and represents millions of climbers nationwide in all forms of climbing: rock climbing, ice climbing,mountaineering, and bouldering. Six core programs support the mission on national and local levels: climbing policy and advocacy, stewardship and conservation, local support and mobilization, land acquisition and protection, risk management and landowner support, and education. For more information, visitaccessfund.org.

Keith W · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2015 · Points: 80

Please consider donating people! Their IG account stated they are hoping to raise 100k by Dec 15 for legal fees etc. 

cragmantoo · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 175

Yvonne Chouinard says he will sue as well. Sierra Club likely. More to come. 

Our government is being "led" by a sleazy con man, who thinks the way to govern is by calling his "enemies" childish names, and the robber barons are running amuck, stuffing the pockets of their rich friends while we stare at the antics of the Clown-In-Chief. (I was a Republican until a few months ago- not a liberal or even a Democrat). 

bus driver · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2009 · Points: 1,000

In semi-related news. . .

https://www.ksl.com/?sid=46211347&nid=148&title=rep-chris-stewart-proposes-national-park-in-grand-staircase-escalante

Also, what is the deal with wilderness study areas? They have been designated all over southern Utah and forbid fixed anchors. Are the "studies" ever going to end and any of this ever going to be open for anchors?

Ryan Bowen · · Bend, Or · Joined Mar 2017 · Points: 85

Does the Antiquities Act explcitly forbid the president from modifying/removing monuments?  Either way, it will be an interesting legal battle.  


Hamish Malin · · Fredericksburg, VA · Joined May 2017 · Points: 15

https://www.accessfund.org/news-and-events/news/access-fund-will-sue-to-protect-bears-ears-national-monument

Here’s the link for anyone who wants it; I plan on posting up elsewhere to hopefully drum up support.

T G · · Colorado · Joined Jun 2015 · Points: 0
Ryan Bowen wrote:

Does the Antiquities Act explcitly forbid the president from modifying/removing monuments?

To my knowledge, no, but neither does it provide an opening to do so. I'd imagine this is the crux of the many legal questions.

Hamish Malin · · Fredericksburg, VA · Joined May 2017 · Points: 15

Also, there is a benefactor who is matching donations, I believe on a 1-for-1 basis.  Every dollar donated equals two for the cause.

Mae Rae · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2011 · Points: 20
cragmantoo wrote:

Yvonne Chouinard says he will sue as well. Sierra Club likely. More to come. 

Our government is being "led" by a sleazy con man, who thinks the way to govern is by calling his "enemies" childish names, and the robber barons are running amuck, stuffing the pockets of their rich friends while we stare at the antics of the Clown-In-Chief. (I was a Republican until a few months ago- not a liberal or even a Democrat). 

I agree with your position on this issue, and in general as to the agenda and competence of the president.

But if you criticize him for using childish names and then call him a childish name in the same sentence, it doesn't make our tactics any better.

We've reached a point where the only reliable characteristic of the current president and his party is that they take the low road: use personal insults, logical fallacies, hypocritical claims, outright lies and disinformation with strident consistency.  Politics has always had it's ugly side, but we are now in a position where our leadership actively encourages the worst kind of behavior.  It is unprecedented.

Let's remind ourselves to take the honorable path: fight this ignorance with logic, facts, and the principles of law.  We can win this.

Donation sent.

Ryan Bowen · · Bend, Or · Joined Mar 2017 · Points: 85
T G wrote:

To my knowledge, no, but neither does it provide an opening to do so. I'd imagine this is the crux of the many legal questions.

Do you know which court would hear this case?  That will probably be the deciding factor if it is that ambiguous.

cragmantoo · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 175
Dave Kos wrote:

I agree with your position on this issue, and in general as to the agenda and competence of the president.

But if you criticize him for using childish names and then call him a childish name in the same sentence, it doesn't make our tactics any better.

We've reached a point where the only reliable characteristic of the current president and his party is to take the low road: use personal insults, logical fallacies, hypocritical claims, outright lies and disinformation with strident consistency.  Politics has always had it's ugly side, but we are now in a position where our leadership actively encourages the worst kind of behavior.  It is unprecedented.

Let's remind ourselves to take the honorable path: fight this ignorance with logic, facts, and the principles of law.  We can win this.

Donation sent.

I was expressing my frustration but, you are right, name calling just perpetuates the madness. 

Logic, facts and principles of law are increasingly being disregarded by our society but I don't want to get sucked into the low road. 

T G · · Colorado · Joined Jun 2015 · Points: 0
Ryan Bowen wrote:

Do you know which court would hear this case?

According to the article below it's probably Congress that has that authority, not a court. The "What the Law Says" section outlines it.

https://www.adventure-journal.com/2017/12/trumps-national-monument-reduction-illegal-likely-reversed/

Eric L · · Roseville, CA · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 115
cragmantoo wrote:

Yvonne Chouinard says he will sue as well. Sierra Club likely. More to come. 

Our government is being "led" by a sleazy con man, who thinks the way to govern is by calling his "enemies" childish names, and the robber barons are running amuck, stuffing the pockets of their rich friends while we stare at the antics of the Clown-In-Chief. (I was a Republican until a few months ago- not a liberal or even a Democrat). 

x2 on all comments

cragmantoo · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 175
Dave Kos wrote:

I agree with your position on this issue, and in general as to the agenda and competence of the president.

But if you criticize him for using childish names and then call him a childish name in the same sentence, it doesn't make our tactics any better.

We've reached a point where the only reliable characteristic of the current president and his party is that they take the low road: use personal insults, logical fallacies, hypocritical claims, outright lies and disinformation with strident consistency.  Politics has always had it's ugly side, but we are now in a position where our leadership actively encourages the worst kind of behavior.  It is unprecedented.

Let's remind ourselves to take the honorable path: fight this ignorance with logic, facts, and the principles of law.  We can win this.

Donation sent.

Guess I was acting like a politician. LOL.

I'm just a regular Joe. Somehow I expect those in leadership to act better (naive, I know...)

Demosthenes of Athens · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2017 · Points: 0

To whom it may concern with regards to Bears Ears National Monument:

Long time lurker, I figured I'd get signed up to throw a few thoughts here:

Bears ears was created by fiat, and is being removed by fiat. I believe that the Antiquities act is going to be an expensive hill to fight on, and a poor one to die on.

It's my understanding that the Access Fund has always been for local organizations and local control. I would prefer that they continue to dedicate resources and energy toward cultivating relationships with local governments and climbing organizations in Utah, rather than spending on large federal lawsuits.  Other people are doing the suing. An Amicus Brief is much cheaper, if a public stance is required.

I also question the wisdom of taking a very public political stance, rather than trying to cultivate a positive relationship with both sides of the issue to ensure that the Access Fund finds itself in the good graces of whomever will come out on top in this one.  Should locals find that climbers came out as vehemently opposed to their perceived economic interests, I think we will find them unsympathetic to our cause when the dust settles. I would feel the same way if someone was suing to keep bread off of my family's table.

While staking a political stance may open the wallets of many people temporarily, I do not think it is wise in the long run. I am concerned that irreparable damage to the brand of this organization we all care about is going to occur over this.

If the primary concern is over Climbing as a designated activity, then let the focus be on that.

JSchloem · · Homer, AK · Joined Nov 2015 · Points: 265
Hamish Malin wrote:

Also, there is a benefactor who is matching donations, I believe on a 1-for-1 basis.  Every dollar donated equals two for the cause.

Someone will donate $100,000 if the AF can get match.

Will Handy · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2016 · Points: 0

Thanks for sharing. Donated!

Mae Rae · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2011 · Points: 20
Demosthenes of Athens wrote:

It's my understanding that the Access Fund has always been for local organizations and local control. 

Local climbing and environmental organizations, not the large corporation that uses a local entity with a benign name as a facade.

Corporations with names like “Lyman Family Farm, Inc." are a painfully transparent sham.  Why do people fall for this stuff? Are they really that naive, or simply blinded by partisan loyalty?

If the primary concern is over Climbing as a designated activity, then let the focus be on that.

Agreed, although personally that's not my only concern.  

But from a climbing access perspective, there are not two sides to this story.  Trump and the interests he serves do not care about climbing or any other responsible recreational use.

Jon Frisby · · Brooklyn, NY · Joined Feb 2013 · Points: 100
T G wrote:

According to the article below it's probably Congress that has that authority, not a court. The "What the Law Says" section outlines it.

https://www.adventure-journal.com/2017/12/trumps-national-monument-reduction-illegal-likely-reversed/

The Congress has exclusive authority to un-designate lands, but the question of whether the President took action that violates the Constitution is still one for the courts. I agree with Demosthenes that the Antiquities Act is not the best hill to die on. The suit should probably be implemented by an appropriately aggrieved tribe, with interest groups writing amicus briefs. If that's the case, this would be in District Court of the State of Utah, I believe

Woodson · · Park City, Ut. · Joined May 2009 · Points: 165
Demosthenes of Athens wrote:While staking a political stance may open the wallets of many people temporarily, I do not think it is wise in the long run. I am concerned that irreparable damage to the brand of this organization we all care about is going to occur over this.

So your saying just lay down and let the Republicans win? Their douchebaggery and overreach is acceptable? That’s what this sounds like to me. 

Sounds like the rest of the House and Senate too. Just let Trump do whatever the hell he wants, as long as our agenda is met. We don’t care about the sexism, racism, bigotry, and his collusion to get elected, as long as we can pass our agenda. Just lay down? 

Fight the power. 

Donated.

ViperScale . · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2013 · Points: 235

If this move is taking away access for climbers to climb on areas of these parks than it is fine for access fund to try to do something about it. I don't know these areas to well since I live on the other side of the country but seems like they are wasting money that is suppose to be going to getting access to climbing areas on areas you don't need access to for climbing.

If they are taking funds donated for climbing access and using it on a lawsuit that isn't about climbing access I would never donate to them again.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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