Environmentalists are shaking their heads in disgust at the thought of having a Utah highway named after President Donald Trump, especially one that winds through canyons and by public lands that he shrunk last year with the stroke of his presidential pen.

State legislators in a committee on Monday advanced a bill to tack the president’s name to the Utah National Parks Highway, in recognition of his controversial decision to shrink Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments in December — by 1.1 million acres, or 85 percent, and by 800,000 acres, or 46 percent, respectively.

But those working to slow the bill’s traction are hopeful that without a full vote in the House or Senate yet, and without a Senate sponsor, the legislation doesn’t make it past the final night of session on Thursday.

The new proposal authored by Republican Rep. Michael Noel would designate more than 600 miles of road along Zion and Canyonlands national parks as the “Donald J. Trump Utah National Parks Highway.” It would cost $124,000 to install 62 road signs along major junctions in 2019, according to the bill's fiscal note.

While Republican lawmakers have praised Trump for opening up the land to mining interests, the reduction drew intense backlash from conservationists and Native American tribes, who have challenged the Trump administration with five lawsuits.

Based in Utah, Power Practical, makers of the LED camp light Luminoodle, see the move in the legislature as adding insult to injury by recognizing a president who they feel disregards the places outdoor brands value greatly.

"Everyone at Power Practical feels like it’s really inappropriate to be honoring a guy who’s decreasing our public lands and slashing funding and is obviously against what makes Utah Utah," said David Toledo, VP of product. 

"Honestly, I can’t say I’m too surprised that the Utah legislature would do something like this," he says. "If they want to name a highway after him, make it one going to a coal mine or something."

SNEWS also reached out to other businesses in Utah, including Tom Adams, Utah's Outdoor Recreation Director; Black Diamond; Backcountry; Cotopaxi and Coalatree for comment but have not heard back. Patagonia and KÜHL declined to provide perspectives.


Bears Ears National Monument

Trump highway through national parks tanks

Remember when a Utah legislator proposed renaming the Utah National Parks Highway after President Donald Trump? Yeah, that won't happen. Republican Rep. Michael Noel's legislation did not gain traction in the House, and therefore didn't even make it to the Senate floor. It was ...read more

utah protest 6

It’s official: Trump slashes Utah national monuments

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Grand Staircase

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Patagonia calling out "lies"

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Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument

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Cascade-Siksiyou National Monument, Oregon

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The Bears Ears Buttes in summertime.

Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition threatens to sue Trump

Leaders from the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition called Trump's national monument review a thinly veiled attack on the monument. If President Donald Trump tries to rescind the protected status of Bears Ears National Monument, he’ll be hit with a lawsuit to the fullest extent ...read more

Rafting on the Rogue Wild and Scenic River in Oregon

Most guides not directly affected by minimum wage exemption

If Fitpacking Owner Steve Silberberg paid his guides a set rate for every hour they spent in the backcountry while leading multi-day trips through national parks and forests, he wouldn't have enough money leftover to pay for anything else. President Donald Trump on May 25 ...read more

Bears Ears National Monument

Poll | What's the most effective way to protect America’s public lands?

Yesterday, we reported on President Trump's controversial announcement that he would officially reduce the size of the Bears Ears and Grand Escalante-Staircase national monuments.  Outdoor Industry Association Executive Director offered suggestions for action steps: Write a ...read more