When it comes to national parks, vast majorities of Americans - Republicans and Democrats, Westerners and Easterners - agree on virtually all issues. Except one.

That's whether presidents should continue to have power to create national monuments without the permission of Congress.A big partisan split developed on that because of how President Clinton created Utah's Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, according to a survey for the National Parks and Conservation Association that was released Wednesday.

It found that only 43 percent of the nation's Republicans say presidents should continue to have that power - compared to 72 percent of Democrats and 59 percent of independents.

"I do believe all the political furor and all the debate going back and forth (about Grand Staircase-Escalante) likely did have an influence on the numbers you see between Republicans and Democrats," said association vice president Bill Chandler.

Of course, Utah leaders howled in protest that Clinton created the monument in an election-year ceremony in Arizona after insisting for a week that no such action was imminent and gave Utah leaders no exact details until the day it was formed.

Clinton officials later testified in Congress that such deception was necessary to keep Utah's members of Congress from blocking the monument, which Clinton felt was necessary to protect the area from proposed mining.

Rep. Jim Hansen, R-Utah, has already passed through the GOP-controlled House a bill that would restrict the size of monuments a president could form without congressional approval - a power they have used to create 105 monuments since 1906.

Still, the survey shows Americans by a two-to-one majority (57 percent to 28 percent) say the president should keep his monument-making authority without restrictions (thanks to overwhelming support by Democrats, a majority of independents and a sizeable minority of Republicans).

The survey showed that on almost every other park issue, Americans think pretty much the same - and favor spending more and making more personal sacrifices to protect resources in parks.

For example, the survey conducted by Colorado State University found that 90 percent of Americans are willing to make reservations to enter parks, or ride buses inside them to help reduce crowding.

It also found that 89 percent says the government should limit visitors if a park becomes too crowded, and 95 percent say visitors should be limited if crowding is harming a park's cultural or natural resources.

"You don't find numbers like this out in the world of statistical analysis," said association president Tom Kiernan.

"This is phenomenal consensus that Americans want to reduce the number of people in the parks if its necessary to have a better experience and it's necessary to protect the resources," he said.

Among other findings is that 92 percent of Americans want use of jet skis restricted in parks (with 52 percent wanting them banned outright). Canyonlands National Park in Utah recently banned their use on the Colorado River.

Also, 89 percent said snowmobiles should be restricted in parks (with 34 percent wanting them banned). Utah areas that now allow them include Zion National Park, and Dinosaur and Cedar Breaks national monuments.

Also, 87 percent said sightseeing flights over parks should be limited (with 17 percent wanting them banned).

The survey also found that 64 percent of Americans said that people living next to parks should have no more influence on their management than people living elsewhere - and found no significant split between Easterners and Westerners on that.

The survey was conducted by mail and had a relatively low response rate of 31 percent (with 596 respondents). But professors who conducted it said phone calls were completed to another 248 non-respondents who were asked some of the questions, and results were almost the same.