Phoenix Arizona --- Today 400 western business owners sent a letter to President Obama calling on him to use his authority under the Antiquities Act to create the Greater Grand Canyon Heritage National Monument in the 1.7 million acres surrounding Grand Canyon National Park. The businesses, organized by the national advocacy group Environment America, were from Nevada (42), New Mexico (96), Colorado (122) and 140 from Arizona.
“One of the great things about living here in New Mexico is that we’re surrounded by all these beautiful places like the Jemez Mountains. But even for me and my family and my customers, the Grand Canyon is really special and we want to see President Obama make sure it stays that way.” said Joey Avulos, owner of Ransomed Art Gallery in Las Cruces, New Mexico.
According to the letter signed by 400 businesses:
“We are blessed with beautiful places all across the western states, but the Grand Canyon is a special American icon. Its scenic vistas are unparalleled; it is home to wildlife from big-horned sheep to the endangered California Condor; it is a great place for hiking, camping, and white water rafting. In addition, the Canyon and surrounding lands contain sites sacred to the Native American community, and the Colorado River and its tributaries that flow through the Canyon provide drinking water for tens of millions of people.
“With over 5.5 million visitors to the national park last year, the Grand Canyon is an economic boon for nearby businesses,” noted Art Babbott, organizer of Flagstaff Community Markets. “But it isn’t just good for business --- my family loves visiting the park and all the special lands around it.”
“Uranium mining has created a toxic legacy around the west contaminating nearby air, land, and water. Even the Grand Canyon itself is home to 4 tributaries that are contaminated from uranium mining that happened decades ago.” said Frank Seeley, owner of The Honey Cottage. “As a business owner in Colorado Springs I want to make sure we stop any future uranium mining and any pollution that it might create.”
“As we celebrate the centennial of the National Park Service this year, I’m really hoping the Grand Canyon is around for my grandkids and their grandkids to visit 100 years from now,” said Brandon Capps, owner of New Image Brewing in Arvada Colorado. “That’s why it’s so important that President Obama creates the Greater Grand Canyon National Monument to permanently protect all the land surrounding the national park.”
“We’ve always known that people in Arizona, across the west, and throughout the nation and the world really love the Grand Canyon and want to see it protected,” noted Bret Fanshaw of Environment Arizona (Environment America’s Arizona-based affiliate). “It is really encouraging to know how many local and regional business owners are speaking out to make sure this special place and the 1.7 million acres around it are permanently protected.”