Zinke: Upper Missouri Breaks will keep its national monument status

Zinke: Upper Missouri Breaks will keep its national monument status

Source: Helena Independent Record
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PERRY BACKUS

WHITEFISH — U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said Tuesday he plans to recommend the Upper Missouri Breaks retain its status as a national monument, effectively taking it off the list of monuments nationwide that could lose their status.

“My likely recommendation will be to leave the Missouri Breaks as is,” Zinke said. “I think it’s settled to a degree that I would rather not open up a wound that has been healed.”

Zinke made his remarks at a press conference following his appearance at the Western Governors’ Association meeting.

Zinke was tasked earlier this year by the Trump Administration to review national monuments over 100,000 acres designated after 1996. Following his recommendation to reduce the size of the Bear’s Ears National Monument in Utah earlier this month, there has been a concern the same could happen for the Upper Missouri.

Zinke said after talks with local, state and federal officials, he had decided there was no need to review the 377,000-acre Montana monument designated in 2001.

He said the Missouri Breaks is currently under a management plan developed by Montanans that protects the unique natural area, ensures public access and maintains traditional uses, including grazing.

Zinke said he believed the issue was settled and it caused disruption to reopen it.