Fourteen senators from across the U.S. have penned a letter to President Barack Obama asking him to declare the Greater Canyonlands region a national monument.
The area encompasses Canyonlands National Park and would expand protection to surrounding federal lands.
None of the senators who signed are from Utah, but as Michael Painter from the citizens group Californians for Western Wilderness explained, it’s the federal designation that makes the Greater Canyonlands area a national issue.
“It’s federal land, so it belongs to all Americans and Utah has this spectacular landscape and everyone that goes there falls in love with it,” Painter said.
He said it is the first time the senate has requested that a national monument be created in this way. He added that National Monument status would extend protections for the land, including extended regulations for mineral exploration, archaeological sites and off-road vehicle use.
Senators from as far away as Vermont and Hawaii signed the letter.