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Some Want National Monument For Land Around Grand Canyon National Park

Grand Canyon National Park south entrance station
(Photo courtesy of National Park Service)
Grand Canyon National Park south entrance station.

Five former members of Arizona’s Game and Fish Commission are calling on President Barack Obama to create a new national monument for the land surrounding Grand Canyon National Park.

The 1.7 million-acre corridor is home to animals such as the mule deer, Kaibab squirrel and sensitive species like the northern goshawk and California condor. The area is a haven for wildlife viewers and hunters alike, who come from around the world to enjoy its natural splendor.

The five ex-commissioners would like to see it stay that way.

“The lands surrounding Grand Canyon National Park are very important wildlife habitats. There are also a number of proposed developments, proposed uranium mines, and those kinds of land uses that would significantly impact the ability of that area to support the wildlife," said wildlife biologist Jennifer Martin, who served on the state board from 2007 to 2011.

Three Democratic congressmen from Arizona asked Obama for the monument designation earlier this month, but current Game and Fish commissioners stated their opposition to the plan in a 2012 vote against the proposal.

Opponents, including GOP Congressman Paul Gosar who represents the district, said Arizona already has 18 national monuments, more than any other state and doesn’t need any more land restrictions.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This article has been modified to reflect the current commissioners voted to oppose the plan in 2012.

Updated 7/29/2015 at 5:20 p.m.

Phil Latzman is an award-winning digital journalist and broadcast professional with over 25 years of experience covering news and sports on a multitude of platforms.