SALT LAKE CITY — President Donald Trump on Tuesday signed into law the most significant piece of public lands legislation in a decade, setting aside more than a million acres of wilderness nationwide, creating new national parks and monuments and creating permanent certainty for a critical land and water conservation fund.
Key provisions in the Natural Resources Management Act include multiple components impacting Utah such as the designation of the Jurassic National Monument, the transformation of the Golden Spike National Historic Site into a national historic park, and creating more than 600,000 acres of wilderness in the state.
"Local voices impacted by public lands throughout our country have been heard," said Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, a critical negotiator in many aspects of the legislation.
"Today commemorates a bipartisan achievement that has been years in the making, and I’d like to thank President Trump for signing this valuable legislation into law. This bill is a victory for America’s sportsmen, local governments, public lands, and rightfully establishes monuments the right way," Bishop added. "This achievement carries great meaning for my home state of Utah, and I’m proud to see this day finally arrive.”
The act is actually about 100 bills cobbled into one, including two proposals carried by Rep. John Curtis, R-Utah.
"This bill represents decades of outreach, where local leaders worked hard to create broad consensus among a diverse range of priorities. The Emery County commissioners, Emery County Public Lands Council, and other leaders deserve to be applauded for their contributions that will bring long-term certainty to the area, striking a balance between access and protection,” Curtis said. “Additionally, the legislation generates millions of dollars through school trust land exchanges to help Utah’s schoolchildren. I’m proud to have been a part of this collaborative effort, along with Senator (Orrin) Hatch and Senator (Mitt) Romney, that is truly a local solution.”
The action Tuesday received praise from conservation groups.
“We applaud our champions in the House and Senate for demonstrating that bipartisan cooperation can achieve great things, and for finding common ground in the fight to ensure that future generations will continue to have access to close-to-home recreation," said Tom Cors, director of government relations for lands at The Nature Conservancy and a spokesman for the LCWF Coalition.
The federal estate across the country actually shrinks by nearly 18,000 acres under the law, and in Utah, federally controlled public land diminishes by 6,302 acres.
Other provisions in the measure is the expansion of Goblin Valley State Park and the addition of 63 miles of wild and scenic river designations.
The law is a big win for hunting and angling enthusiasts for multiple reasons, including a provision that says hunting and fishing is allowed on federal lands unless otherwise specified.