Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, November 3, 2015

Contact:  Sandy Bahr, Sierra Club, (602) 999-5790,
Katie Davis, Center for Biological Diversity, (801)-560-2414,
Kelly Burke, Grand Canyon Wildlands, (928) 606-7870,
Ethan Aumack, Grand Canyon Trust, (928) 606-2128,
Kim Vacariu, Wildlands Network, (520) 558-0165,

Bill Would Protect 1.7 Million Acres Near Grand Canyon as National Monument

PHOENIX, Ariz.— Conservation groups today applauded the Navajo Nation and the Hopi, Havasupai, and Hualapai tribes for their leadership in advancing a national monument proposal to permanently protect public lands around Grand Canyon from new uranium mining and to protect important cultural and natural resources.

Kanab Creek drainage
Kanab Creek drainage photo by Kristen M. Caldon, Photos are available for media use.

Congressman Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.) introduced the Greater Grand Canyon Heritage National Monument Act today to protect more than a million acres near the canyon. Because it is unlikely the bill will move through Congress in time, Grijalva plans to also ask President Obama to establish the proposed monument administratively.

National monument designation would permanently protect 1.7 million acres and a network of above- and below-ground streams from new uranium mining. In a region where communities are already living with the toxic legacy of uranium mining, the health effects, water contamination and expensive clean up that would result from new mining cannot be ignored.  

“The existing temporary ban on new uranium mines is supported by hundreds of thousands of Americans, including Native American tribes throughout Arizona,” said Sandy Bahr, director of the Sierra Club’s Grand Canyon Chapter. “We expect the national monument proposal to have even greater support as it will provide permanent protection for lands around Grand Canyon while allowing for continued enjoyment of these important public lands. Sierra Club appreciates the efforts of Congressman Grijalva and the tribal leaders to protect the greater Grand Canyon.”

“We’re proud to support tribal communities and Congressman Grijalva to permanently protect the public lands of Grand Canyon’s vital watershed,” said Katie Davis, public lands campaigner at the Center for Biological Diversity. “The greater Grand Canyon region is a hotspot of biological and cultural diversity that demands recognition and protection as a national monument — an action the president should not hesitate to take if Congress fails to act.”

“Congressman Grijalva and tribal leaders are clearly responding to a vital need to permanently save the cultural and natural heritage of the greater Grand Canyon, and we're extremely grateful for their efforts. Coupled with the strong support of Arizonans and Americans everywhere, we now have a rare opportunity to protect the threatened resources of a world-class landscape, its treasured wildlife, and the homeland of its native peoples. President Obama has a unique opportunity to heed this call to action and designate the Greater Grand Canyon Heritage National Monument,”said Kelly Burke, executive director of Grand Canyon Wildlands Council. 

“It's truly a great moment when the cultural heritage, natural resources and unique conservation values of a region are recognized in a single proposal. Permanent protection of the greater Grand Canyon would not only ensure the survival of this land's native cultures, it would also help ensure the survival of the native wildlife species that depend on this region as part of a priority habitat pathway stretching all the way to Yellowstone,” added Kim Vacariu, western director of Wildlands Network.

The greater Grand Canyon area is home to California condors, mountain lions and a host of other wildlife — including some found nowhere else in the world. The proposed national monument would create a safe passageway for mule deer and other wildlife from Grand Canyon National Park to Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.

“Grand Canyon Trust supports Congressman Grijalva’s proposal to permanently protect the Grand Canyon from uranium mining,” said Ethan Aumack, conservation director with the Grand Canyon Trust. “We also support protection of the rich cultural and natural heritage of the Grand Canyon affiliated tribes who helped develop this legislation.”


The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 900,000 members and supporters dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with more than 2.4 million members and supporters. In addition to helping people from all backgrounds explore nature and our outdoor heritage, the Sierra Club works to promote clean energy, safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and legal action. For more information, visit

Wildlands Network ensures a healthy future for nature and people in North America by scientifically and strategically supporting networks of people protecting networks of connected wildlands.

Grand Canyon Wildlands Council works to provide creative, collaborative, science-based solutions for conserving the full diversity of native species and natural ecosystems across the Grand Canyon region, protecting and restoring a network of wildlands and waters.

Grand Canyon Trust has been working tirelessly since 1985 to protect the air, water, and wildlife of the Colorado Plateau, from slickrock canyons, to fragile deserts, to the largest contiguous ponderosa pine forest in North America.

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