Outdoor recreationists: Tell Utah you’re not visiting this year

If you’ve had enough of Utah politicians’ efforts to transfer our public lands or undermine national monument designations, let the State of Utah know.

Utah relies on our outdoor recreation dollars to help fuel its economy. As a community, we contribute nearly $12 billion to the state’s economy—employing more than 122,000 people while generating $856 million in state and local taxes! That’s the kind of economic impact that should make anyone take notice.

But instead of catering to us as an important constituency, Utah politicians have repeatedly given us the middle finger by opposing popular national monument designations and even trying to undermine our public lands altogether.

As a community, we can do better in pressuring the state to better reflect our conservation values. We deserve to have Utah working hard to attract our business, not taking our hard earned travel dollars for granted while they attack the places we love.

Tell Utah that if it won’t support the outdoor recreation community, then we won’t support its economy. Here’s how.

What to write

This is what I wrote, but feel free to deviate from this how ever you see fit. Don’t worry about writing the most perfectly eloquent message—just getting the key points out there is the important part here.

  • Introduce yourself so it’s obvious this isn’t a form letter
  • Tell Mr Adams that you’re a regular visitor to Utah
  • Calmly explain that you’re offended by the actions of Utah’s elected officials in attacking our public lands and attempting to undermine Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments
  • Make it clear that this is totally unacceptable to you, and as a result, you won’t be visiting Utah until it changes
  • Ask him to relay your sentiments to the Governor and other elected officials

Who to contact

Address your message to Tom Adams, Director of the Utah Office of Outdoor Recreation. His email address appears to be tomadams@utah.gov.

Or you can use this form to send your message from the Utah website.

If you’d rather call, try 801-538-8873.

Also, feel free to send a similar message to Gov Herbert while you’re at it.

What this accomplishes

Let’s not kid ourselves—shooting off an email to the Utah tourism department isn’t enough to turn back these public lands attacks. But lodging your complaint and threatening to spend your outdoor rec money elsewhere does send an important signal, one that is amplified by other actions. Whether you ultimately choose to visit Utah this year or not, this is a simple action to remind the Utah leaders that there is a price to pay for their actions.

And if you do visit Utah, please make sure to raise as much hell as you can about public lands issues while you’re there. Be vocal and tell people that you’re not happy about how Utah is treating its public lands and they’re jeopardizing your tourist dollars.

How to stay engaged

Jump on this Arizona Conservation Partners email list and we’ll keep you updated. Your email is safe with us.



Many organizations are working on this issue, including the Outdoor Alliance, TRCP, Center for Western Priorities, and The Wilderness Society to name just a few. Any of them would be great organizations to saddle up with.

If you’d like to help support Bears Ears National Monument in particular, I’d recommend checking in with the Friends of Cedar Mesa and the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition.

Please share this post

Tweet it, facebook it, or better yet: email or text it to a few of your adventure buddies. The more of us that weigh in, the better. Help get the word out. You might even want to use the hashtag #OptOutofUtah.

National Monuments designated under the Antiquities Act

The Antiquities Act of 1906 was the first piece of legislation to protect ruins and artifacts of Native American cultures. However, the law also gave the President authority to designate national monuments on federal lands—a powerful and important tool for protecting some of our nation’s most important treasures.

This authority has been used more than a hundred times by a total of sixteen Presidents—eight Republican and eight Democratic.

Many of the national monuments established under the Antiquities Act have later been expanded, merged, or converted into national parks (asterisks show ones that have retained their national monument status); several have also been renamed over time. While most of the national monuments are managed by the National Park Service, several are managed by other federal agencies, most notably the Bureau of Land Management as part of the National Conservation Lands (I’ve displayed those in italics).

Below is the list of designations. I’ve had the pleasure and good fortune of visiting the majority of these places. You should too.

Theodore Roosevelt (18)

9/24/06 Devils Tower, WY*
12/8/06 El Morro, NM*
12/8/06 Montezuma Castle, AZ*
12/8/06 Petrified Forest, AZ
3/11/07 Chaco Canyon, NM
5/6/07 Cinder Cone, CA
5/6/07 Lassen Peak, CA
11/16/07 Gila Cliff Dwellings, NM*
12/19/07 Tonto, AZ*
1/9/08 Muir Woods, CA*
1/11/08 Grand Canyon, AZ
1/16/08 Pinnacles, CA*
2/7/08 Jewel Cave, SD*
4/16/08 Natural Bridges, UT*
5/11/08 Lewis and Clark Cavern, MT
9/15/08 Tumacacori, AZ
12/7/08 Wheeler, CO
3/2/09 Mount Olympus, WA

William Howard Taft (10)

3/20/09 Navajo, AZ*
7/12/09 Oregon Caves, OR*
7/31/09 Mukuntuweap, UT
9/21/09 Shoshone Cavern, WY
11/1/09 Gran Quivira (now Salinas Pueblo Missions), NM*
3/23/10 Sitka, AK
5/30/10 Rainbow Bridge, UT*
6/23/10 Big Hole Battlefield, MT
5/24/11 Colorado, CO*
7/6/11 Devils Postpile, CA*

Woodrow Wilson (14)

10/14/13 Cabrillo, CA*
1/31/14 Papago Saguaro, AZ
10/4/15 Dinosaur, UT-CO*
11/30/15 Walnut Canyon, AZ*
2/11/16 Bandelier, NM*
7/8/16 Sieur de Monts, ME
8/9/16 Capulin Mountain (now Capulin Volcano), NM*
10/25/16 Old Kasaan, AK
6/29/17 Verendrye, ND
3/18/18 Zion, UT (incorporated Mukuntuweap NM)
8/3/18 Casa Grande (now Casa Grande Ruins), AZ*
9/24/18 Katmai, AK
12/12/19 Scotts Bluff, NE*
12/12/19 Yucca House, CO*

Warren G. Harding (8)

1/24/22 Lehman Caves, NV
10/14/22 Timpanogos Cave, UT*
10/21/22 Fossil Cycad, SD
1/24/23 Aztec Ruin (now Aztec Ruins), NM*
3/2/23 Hovenweep, UT-CO*
3/2/23 Mound City Group, OH
5/31/23 Pipe Spring, AZ*
6/8/23 Bryce Canyon, UT

Calvin Coolidge (13)

10/25/23 Carlsbad Cave, NM
4/18/24 Chiricahua, AZ*
5/2/24 Craters of the Moon, ID*
10/15/24 Castle Pinckney, SC
10/15/24 Fort Marion (now Castillo de San Marcos), FL*
10/15/24 Fort Matanzas, FL*
10/15/24 Fort Pulaski, GA*
10/15/24 Statue of Liberty, NY*
12/9/24 Wupatki, AZ*
2/26/25 Glacier Bay, AK
2/26/25 Meriwether Lewis, TN
9/5/25 Father Millet Cross, NY
11/21/25 Lava Beds, CA*

Herbert Hoover (9)

4/12/29 Arches, UT
5/11/29 Holy Cross, CO
5/26/30 Sunset Crater (now Sunset Crater Volcano), AZ*
3/17/32 Great Sand Dunes, CO*
12/22/32 Grand Canyon, AZ
1/18/33 White Sands, NM*
2/11/33 Death Valley, CA-NV
3/1/33 Saguaro, AZ
3/3/33 Black Canyon of the Gunnison, CO

Franklin D. Roosevelt (11)

4/26/33 Channel Islands, CA
8/22/33 Cedar Breaks, UT*
1/4/35 Fort Jefferson, FL
8/10/36 Joshua Tree, CA
1/22/37 Zion, UT
4/13/37 Organ Pipe Cactus, AZ*
8/2/37 Capitol Reef, UT
7/16/38 Fort Laramie, WY
5/17/39 Santa Rosa Island, FL
7/24/39 Tuzigoot, AZ*
3/15/43 Jackson Hole, WY

Harry S. Truman (1)

10/25/49 Effigy Mounds, IA*

Dwight D. Eisenhower (2)

7/14/56 Edison Laboratory, NJ
1/18/61 Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, MD-WV

John F. Kennedy (2)

5/11/61 Russell Cave, AL*
12/28/61 Buck Island Reef, VI*

Lyndon B. Johnson (1)

1/20/69 Marble Canyon, AZ

Jimmy Carter (15)

12/1/78 Admiralty Island, AK* (US Forest Service)
12/1/78 Aniakchak, AK*
12/1/78 Becharof, AK
12/1/78 Bering Land Bridge, AK
12/1/78 Cape Krusenstern, AK*
12/1/78 Denali, AK
12/1/78 Gates of the Arctic, AK
12/1/78 Kenai Fjords, AK
12/1/78 Kobuk Valley, AK
12/1/78 Lake Clark, AK
12/1/78 Misty Fjords, AK* (US Forest Service)
12/1/78 Noatak, AK
12/1/78 Wrangell-St. Elias, AK
12/1/78 Yukon-Charley, AK
12/1/78 Yukon Flats, AK

William J. Clinton (21)

9/18/96 Grand Staircase-Escalante, UT* (Bureau of Land Management)
1/11/00 Grand Canyon-Parashant, AZ* (Jointly managed by the National Park Service and the Bureau of Land Management)
1/11/00 Agua Fria, AZ* (Bureau of Land Management)
1/11/00 California Coastal, CA* (Bureau of Land Management)
1/10/00 Pinnacles, CA (Expansion)
4/15/00 Giant Sequoia, CA (Expansion—-US Forest Service)
6/09/00 Hanford Reach, WA (US Fish and Wildlife Service)
6/09/00 Ironwood Forest, AZ* (Bureau of Land Management)
6/09/00 Canyons of the Ancients, CO* (Bureau of Land Management)
6/09/00 Cascade-Siskiyou, OR* (Bureau of Land Management)
7/07/00 President Lincoln and Soldiers’ Home (Armed Forces Retirement Home)
11/9/00 Craters of the Moon, ID* (Expansion of Existing Monument; Bureau of Land Management)
11/9/00 Vermilion Cliffs, AZ* (Bureau of Land Management)
1/17/01 Carrizo Plain, CA* (Bureau of Land Management)
1/17/01 Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks, NM* (Bureau of Land Management)
1/17/01 Minidoka Internment, ID
1/17/01 Pompeys Pillar, MT* (Bureau of Land Management)
1/17/01 Sonoran Desert, AZ* (Bureau of Land Management)
1/17/01 Upper Missouri River Breaks, MT* (Bureau of Land Management)
1/17/01 Virgin Islands Coral Reef, VI*
1/20/01 Governors Island, NY*

George W. Bush (3)

2/27/06 African Burial Ground, NY*
6/15/06 Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Marine (renamed Papahanaumokuakea Hawaii Islands Marine), HI
12/05/08 World War II Valor in the Pacific (incorporated USS Arizona Memorial), HI*

Barack Obama (32)

11/01/11 Fort Monroe, VA*
4/20/12 Fort Ord, CA (Bureau of Land Management)
9/21/12 Chimney Rock, CO (US Forest Service)*
10/08/12 César E. Chávez, CA*
3/25/13 Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers, OH*
3/25/13 First State, DE*
3/25/13 Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad, MD*
3/25/13 Río Grande del Norte, NM (Bureau of Land Management)*
3/25/13 San Juan Islands, WA (Bureau of Land Management)*
10/28/13 Military Working Dog Teams, TX (Department of Defense)
5/21/14 Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks, NM (Bureau of Land Management)*
10/10/15 San Gabriel Mountains, CA (US Forest Service)*
12/19/14 Tule Springs Fossil Beds, NV*
2/19/15 Browns Canyon, CO (Bureau of Land Management)*
2/19/15 Honouliuli, HI*
2/19/15 Pullman, IL*
7/10/15 Basin and Range, NV (Bureau of Land Management)*
7/10/15 Berryessa Snow Mountain, CA (US Forest Service/BLM)*
7/10/15 Waco Mammoth, TX*
2/12/16 Mojave Trails, CA (Bureau of Land Management)*
2/12/16 Sand to Snow, CA (US Forest Service, BLM)*
2/12/16 Castle Mountains, CA*
4/12/16 Belmont-Paul Womens Equality, DC*
6/24/16 Stonewall, NY*
9/15/16 Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument* (Atlantic Ocean)
12/28/16 Bears Ears, UT (Bureau of Land Management)*
12/28/16 Gold Butte, NV (Bureau of Land Management)*
1/12/16 Freedom Riders, AL*
1/12/16 Montgomery Civil Rights, AL*
1/12/16 Reconstruction Era, SC*
1/12/16 California Coastal, CA (Expansion of Existing Monument; Bureau of Land Management)
1/12/16 Cascade-Siskiyou, OR (Expansion of Existing Monument; Bureau of Land Management)

Some additional notes on these designations:

  • Congress has transferred 10 national monuments (Lewis and Clark Cavern, Wheeler, Shoshone Cavern, Papago Saguaro, Old Kasaan, Verendrye, Fossil Cycad, Castle Pinckney, Father Millet Cross, Holy Cross) to other federal, state, or local jurisdictions.
  • Congress has limited Antiquities Act powers in two states: Wyoming and Alaska.
  • The largest designation has been Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument at 140,000 square miles; the smallest was Father Millet Cross National Monument at 0.0074 acres.