Mining Moratorium on Public Lands Near Grand Canyon Praised by Hunters and Anglers
Washington, DC – Sportsmen throughout the nation are applauding a 20-year moratorium on new mining claims on 1 million-plus acres of public lands fish and wildlife habitat surrounding the Grand Canyon, the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership announced today.
The federal decision withdraws public lands north and south of the Grand Canyon from filings of new mining claims and additional in-situ production of uranium. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced the moratorium, which follows a temporary ban, this afternoon in Washington, D.C. The withdrawal does not affect mining claims with valid existing rights.
Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service lands encompassed in the claims moratorium include large expanses of the Arizona Strip, Kaibab Plateau and North Rim, all of which contain some of the most productive habitat in the nation for trophy elk and mule deer.
“Sportsmen from all over the country vie for the permits issued by the Arizona Game and Fish Department to hunt elk and mule deer each year,” said Dr. Bennett Brown, a TRCP field representative and avid big-game hunter. “These hunters spend millions of dollars annually pursuing their quarry in one of the most spectacular landscapes remaining in North America. We thank the Department of the Interior for this foresighted decision, which is good news for America’s economy, as well as our outdoor recreational opportunities.”
The moratorium on new mining claims diminishes the risk of contamination to aquifers that provide water for nearby residents. The quality of water for millions more Americans who depend upon the Colorado River for domestic and irrigation water is protected, as well as habitat for native species such as the endangered razorback sucker and humpback chub.
“President Theodore Roosevelt said of the Grand Canyon, ‘Leave it as it is. You cannot improve upon it. The ages have been at work on it, and man can only mar it,’” said TRCP President and CEO Whit Fosburgh. “Secretary Salazar’s decision safeguards the magnificent vistas and incredible biological diversity that characterize the Colorado Plateau – lands that are part of our collective cultural heritage and form the underpinnings of our outdoor traditions.”