Wildlife officials want national monument denied

Posted at 7:09 AM, Jan 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-23 09:09:49-05

Current and former Arizona Game and Fish commissioners are urging President Barack Obama to deny monument status to a large swath north of the Grand Canyon.

The five-member commission and 10 ex-commissioners sent a letter to the president Friday, saying the proposed Grand Canyon Watershed National Monument is "a solution to a non-existing problem."

The commissioners say the designation will lead to unnecessary regulations, negatively impact outdoor recreation and jeopardize the department's ability to conserve wildlife.

The proposed 1.7 million-acre monument is a mix of towering cliffs and canyons, grasslands, forest and desert that is popular with hunters and hikers.

It also includes 1 million acres rich in uranium ore that is temporarily banned from the filing of new mining claims.

Environmentalists and tribes want to make that ban permanent.