Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke backs shrinking more monuments

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Conservationists have expressed opposition to any reduction to the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument and threatened to legally challenge changes ordered by Trump.

While these practices often go on even after a presidential designation, Zinke said he wants to make that legality clear because ranchers have felt marginalized and fear they will face future restrictions.

Trump characterized the changes to Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante as "restoring the rights of this land" to citizens.

The Association of O&C Counties - a group representing OR counties that receive logging income from BLM timberlands formerly owned by the OR and California Railroad - has a lawsuit pending that challenges the Obama Administration's expansion of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument.

Zinke said he would focus the limited changes on efforts to protect local governments' access to water on the site.

Bishop and members of the Utah congressional delegation have introduced legislation that would create a new national park out of a portion of Grand Staircase-Escalante, to be called Escalante Canyons National Park.

Zinke said that in certain instances, the designation of a national monument had shut down roads and trails and blocked access to recreational and grazing lands that had been used for generations.

The monument designated by President Bill Clinton in 1996 was almost 3,000 square miles (7,770 square kilometers).

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Southern Oregon's Cascade-Siskiyou is on the short-list of national monuments being targeted by the Trump administration.

Zinke's plan also calls for increased hunting and fishing in national monuments.

The tribes' legal action is among a number of lawsuits being filed over the president's announcement to shrink Bears Ears and Utah's Grand Staircase-Escalante monuments.

When Trump announced he would dramatically shrink Utah's monuments, Native American leaders, along with environmental and conservation groups, vowed to take the fight to court.

The monuments review started April 26 when Trump signed an executive order directing Zinke to study "all presidential designations or expansions of designations under the Antiquities Act" since January 1, 1996, if they involve more than 100,000 acres.

The president said he was intent on responding to longstanding complaints from rural communities in the West who said their opinions were ignored in establishing national monuments, despite a mandate for "adequate public outreach".

Trump says Utah's lands should not be managed by "distant bureaucrats in Washington" and said he was reversing federal overreach.

In Oregon, timber, ranching and off-road vehicle advocates have been encouraged by the current administration's criticism of national monuments.

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