Law & Order

President Biden Restores National Monument Boundaries

By SEMA Washington, D.C., Staff

President Biden signed SEMA-opposed proclamations to expand the boundaries for three National Monuments, including Grand Staircase-Escalante and Bears Ears National Monuments. The size of both Monuments was reduced by President Trump in 2017. This new action slightly expands the boundary of the Bears Ears National Monument from that established by President Obama in 2016 to 1.36 million acres and restores the 1.87-million-acre boundary of Grand Staircase-Escalante that was in place before reduced by the Trump Administration. SEMA will monitor the new land-management plans triggered by this action to ensure current off-road trails are not adversely impacted.

The 110-year-old Antiquities Act provides the president authority to preserve land with significant natural, cultural or scientific features. It has resulted in hundreds of millions of acres being set aside over the decades leading many to question whether the footprints are larger than necessary. Many members of Congress criticized President Biden’s use of an executive order instead of seeking a legislative solution to the boundary issue.

National Monument designations frequently lead to the closure of existing off-road roads and trails. SEMA supports a collaborative approach when making major land-use decisions, including input from local citizens, elected leaders and other stakeholders.

For more information, contact Caroline Fletcher at