ST. GEORGE — A Utah congressman has introduced legislation proposing a new national park in southeastern Utah.
Rep. Chris Stewart reintroduced the Grand Staircase Escalante Enhancement Act (H.R. 8446) Wednesday, which aims to create Utah’s sixth national park, the Escalante Canyons Park and Preserve. He previously introduced the legislation in 2017.
Following the bill’s introduction, Stewart released the following statement:
Whether you want guaranteed access or long-term conservation, the Escalante Canyons National Park meets your goals. By providing for a strong local voice in park management, the Escalante Canyons Park and Preserve is pioneering management that works collaboratively with those who live and work in this area. This legislation invites those who want to experience the beauty of Utah, our paleontology and ancient history, and the local culture to come enjoy this part of the state.
According to a press release issued by Stewart’s office, the Grand Staircase Escalante Enhancement Act includes the following provisions:
- Creates Utah’s sixth national park – Escalante Canyons National Park.
- The new park conserves this nationally important area while allowing access for hunting, fishing, trapping and grazing.
- The park maps are still being finalized by the local communities, but the boundaries will fall within the Escalante Canyons Unit of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.
- Transfers “Hole in the Rock Road” to the state of Utah in recognition the road’s historical significance as a pioneer trail for the early settlers sent to the area by leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
- Creates a “Management Council” comprised of local officials to draft and oversee a management plan for the new monuments and National Park, giving local leaders a powerful voice and seat at the table.
- This bill codifies 3 separate and distinct national designations, Grand Staircase National Monument, Escalante Canyons National Park and Kaiparowits National Monument.