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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release January 11, 2000
                Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument
                            January 11, 2000

President Clinton will sign a proclamation today creating the Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument in Arizona. The President also will sign proclamations creating the Agua Fria National Monument in Arizona and the California Coastal National Monument, and expanding Pinnacles National Monument in California.

Protecting the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. The new Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument is located on the edge of one of the most beautiful places on Earth - the Grand Canyon. Situated on the Colorado Plateau in northwestern Arizona, within the drainage of the Colorado River, the monument borders Grand Canyon National Park to the south, and the state of Nevada to the west, and encompasses a portion of Lake Mead National Recreation Area.

This 1,014,000 acres of federal land is a scientific treasure holding many of the same values that have long been protected in Grand Canyon National Park. Deep canyons, mountains, and lonely buttes testify to the power of geological forces and provide colorful vistas. Its Paleozoic and Mesozoic sedimentary rock layers are relatively undeformed and unobscured by vegetation, offering a clear view to understanding the process of the geologic history of the Colorado Plateau. The monument encompasses the lower portion of the Shivwits Plateau, an important watershed for the Colorado River and the Grand Canyon. Beyond the phenomenal geological resources, the monument contains countless biological, archeological, and historical resources. This area could be increasingly threatened by potential mineral development.

Managing the New Monument. Currently, the federal lands within the monument are managed by the Department of the Interior through the National Park Service (NPS, within the boundaries of the Lake Mead National Recreation Area) and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). This arrangement will continue, but will be subject to the overriding purposes of protecting the scientific and historic objects for which the monument has been created. Livestock grazing, hunting, fishing, and similar activities that are currently permitted will generally not be affected, nor will the designation affect state or private property or other valid existing rights such as water rights. New mining claims and geothermal leases will be prohibited, and the current prohibition on off-road vehicle use will be made permanent.

Public Process. President Teddy Roosevelt first set aside a portion of what is now the Grand Canyon National Park under the Antiquities Act in 1908. In 1919, Congress converted the Grand Canyon National Monument to a national park. Additional lands were made national monuments by Presidential Proclamation in 1932 and 1969. Congress enlarged the Park in 1975 to include these lands, but that Act left open whether several drainages north of the Grand Canyon should be protected and directed that the Secretary of the Interior study and issue a report on these lands. Most of the studied lands are included within the monument.

In November 1998, Secretary Babbitt came to Northern Arizona and began a dialogue that has included two more Secretarial visits, two large public meetings, and more than 59 other meetings with concerned local governments, tribes and other groups regarding the future of these lands. Congressman Bob Stump introduced a bill (H.R. 2795) that would have established a National Conservation Area in this area in August 1999, but this bill actually would lower protections in existing law. Senator Kyl also introduced legislation on this subject (S. 1560), which does not provide the same level of protection as monument status. No hearings have been held on Senator Kyl's bill yet.

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