PRESS RELEASE: ESCALANTE BOULDER CHAMBER OF COMMERCE REITERATES ZINKE CALL: PROTECT GRAND-STAIRCASE ESCALANTE, PROTECT LOCAL ECONOMIES

PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, June 8, 2017

CONTACT: Madison Hayes | Alliance for a Better Utah

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ESCALANTE BOULDER CHAMBER OF COMMERCE REITERATES ZINKE CALL:

PROTECT GRAND-STAIRCASE ESCALANTE, PROTECT LOCAL ECONOMIES

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Salt Lake City – As Secretary Zinke prepares his final recommendation of the Bears Ears National Monument, members and leaders of the Escalante Boulder Chamber of Commerce are reaffirming their position that national monuments are good for business and local economies.

“The revenue statistics for our local businesses increase each year,” stated Suzanne Catlett, President of the Escalante Boulder Chamber of Commerce. “Businesses other than tourism are making their way into the local economy and many professional residents work remotely.”

As evidence of improved economic conditions from the monument, Catlett cited an Escalante restaurant on Highway 12 with a record-breaking month of May this year – a revenue increase of 21% more than any other May in the last six years.

Catlett went on to say, “Utah is fooling its residents into thinking this very large transfer of wealth between federal and state governments is in its best interest…Is it wise to change the course of the existing, thriving economy in this way – especially when we know the majority of the nation’s public polled want it left as it is?”

Last month, the Chamber of Commerce sent a memo to Zinke citing a growth in a tourism economy, home construction, and the number of locally owned businesses in and around the monument as key indicators of the positive economic impacts resulting from the monument. The memo also requested a formal meeting with the Secretary during his visit to Utah, which Zinke denied.

Mark Austin, owner of Entrada Escalante Lodge and Austin-Witzdam Builders, LLC was among those denied a meeting: “Several days after the Executive Order…I received a call from Zinke’s office asking me to complete an official form…to meet with Zinke. I completed the form…A week later, I received an email denying a meeting.”

The Alliance for a Better Utah supports the Escalante Boulder Chamber of Commerce’s efforts and joins their call urging Secretary Zinke to listen to local businesses and maintain the present boundaries of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. These businesses have benefitted from the protection currently afforded the lands within the monument boundaries. Maintaining the designation will protect these valuable assets for future generations and ensure the long-term economic success of the communities around the monument.

The below businesses are among those who signed the initial memo to Zinke released in May. The Alliance for a Better Utah can assist in setting up interviews and responding to press inquiries from the business owners bolded below.

  • Mark Austin – owner of Entrada Escalante Lodge and Austin-Witzdam Builders, LLC – Escalante, Utah
  • Jim & Caitlin Clery – owners of Utah Canyon Outdoors – Escalante, Utah
  • Victor Cooper – owner of The Rocking V Cafe – Kanab, Utah
  • Susan Hand – Willow Canyons – Kanab, Utah
  • Dr. Keith Watts – founder of Earth Tours – Boulder, Utah

Follow link here to read the Chamber of Commerce’s memo to Secretary Zinke.

Follow link here to read full quotes from Suzanne Cutlett and Mark Austin.

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About the Alliance for a Better Utah:

Alliance for a Better Utah is a good government advocacy and watchdog organization. The organization works to improve the lives of all Utahns by ensuring balance, transparency, and accountability in Utah politics, policy, and government. More information at www.betterutah.org.

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