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Groups Slam Zinke's Call to Shrink Cascade-Siskiyou

The federal government is calling for an unspecified reduction in size for Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument, on the California-Oregon border.(BLM)
The federal government is calling for an unspecified reduction in size for Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument, on the California-Oregon border.(BLM)
December 6, 2017

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is calling on the president to reduce the size of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument, which straddles the California-Oregon border.

What that reduction will look like for Cascade-Siskiyou, as well as Nevada's Gold Butte, isn't yet clear, but it comes on the heels of President Donald Trump's announcement Monday to slash about 2 million acres from Utah's Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante monuments.

In a press call Tuesday, Zinke said past presidents had "abused their powers" when designating and expanding monuments.

But Oregon state Rep. Pam Marsh says Cascade-Siskiyou has broad local support, so officials plan to push back on this decision.

"We think the whole idea of shrinking the monument in any way is a bad idea,” she states. “We are gearing up to resist and we're doing that on a statewide basis.

“The monument has the support of our two U.S. senators, the governor – quite a different political environment than in some other states."

Marsh also refutes Zinke's claims that monument status affects private land use within its boundaries.

She says local and state laws dictate what landowners can do on their property.

Cascade-Siskiyou was created in 2000 and expanded in 2017.

Cascade-Siskiyou is unique among national monuments. It's recognized as one of the most biologically diverse regions in the country and has become a hub for environmental research.

Diarmuid McGuide owns Green Springs Inn, located within the monument. He plans to dedicate part of his property to a field station and education center.

McGuide says studying the effects of climate change in a place like Cascade-Siskiyou is increasingly important.

"This science is critical to our survival, and what Zinke's talking about doing is basically compromising a very important asset that we need to respond to climate change," he stresses.

Opponents of the reduction say they plan legal action against the Trump administration over this decision.

Support for this reporting was provided by The Pew Charitable Trusts.

Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - CA