In his final report to the president, Zinke recommended that timbering should be permitted on the property and that infrastructure upgrades and public access for "traditional uses" like snowmobiling and hunting should be prioritized in a management plan.
The retailer Patagonia replaced its usual homepage Monday night with a stark declaration: "The President Stole Your Land". Zinke dismissed a protest led by Patagonia as a "special interest" complaint. The California-based company called Trump's actions illegal and described Monday's action as the largest elimination of protected land in American history. The move was a high-profile protest over Utah leaders' insistence on getting the Bears Ears designation rescinded and trying to take more control of federal lands.
A coalition of the Hopi, Ute Indian, Ute Mountain Ute, Zuni tribes and Navajo Nation sued late Monday to challenge the Bears Ears reduction, which cuts monument status for the rugged land in southeastern Utah by about 85 percent.
"The president was absolutely right in asking for a review", Zinke said.
Zinke defends monument changes, still supports Badger-Two Medicine protection
A third lawsuit has been filed challenging President Donald Trump's decision to significantly shrink two national monuments in Utah. Bears Ears features thousands of Native American artifacts, including ancient cliff dwellings and petroglyphs.
Trump's executive order triggered the review of monuments designated since 1996 under the Antiquities Act of 1906, which grants the president authority to declare federal lands of historic or scientific value as national monuments.
Republican Rep. Chris Stewart says his legislation would create a modest national park at Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument that's about 156 square miles (404 square kilometers).
"The implications of these recommendations for Maine's monument remain unclear, so we can not fully judge whether these recommendations are acceptable and consistent with the overwhelming view of ME people, problematic for the intended goal of this Monument, or illegal and likely to trigger action in the courts", she said in a statement.