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Zinke's Call to Reduce Cascade-Siskiyou Meets Local Pushback

The Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument was created in 2000 and expanded in 2017. (Bob Wick/Bureau of Land Management)
The Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument was created in 2000 and expanded in 2017. (Bob Wick/Bureau of Land Management)
December 6, 2017

ASHLAND, Ore. – Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is calling on the president to reduce the size of Oregon's Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument.

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 state Rep. Pam Marsh says Cascade-Siskiyou has broad local support and that state and local 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 of Oregon – 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.

Marsh says southern Oregon is dependent on tourism and Cascade-Siskiyou is a key component of that.

"The economic environment as a whole benefits from the monument,” she stresses. “That's a benefit that only grows over time as the monument really starts to be much more in the public focus."

The monument is recognized as one of the most biologically diverse regions in the country.

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.

Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - OR