Ashland, Ore.- Interior Secretary Zinke came to the region for the first time as a member of the President’s cabinet Saturday. His visit comes after an Executive Order from President Trump in April. It called for any national monument greater than 100,000 acres to be reviewed for a potential decrease in size or the removal of their title as monument lands.
After reviewing the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument this weekend, Secretary Zinke says he has one thing in mind when making his recomendation to President Trump. Biodiversity.
And Congressman Greg Walden agrees, saying that looking at biodiversity, forests, and recreation is of the utmost importance.
The Cascade-Siskiyou Monument is the only national monument to be be set aside solely for the purpose of preserving biodiversity. It’s an area where multiple climates and forms of geology come together. Secretary Zinke says it’s one of the more unique sites of the 27 total that he’s reviewing.
Should his recommendation to President Trump be to decrease the over 100,000 acres of the Cascade-Siskiyou Monument, he will keep biodiversity at the forefront of his decision and future plans for the monument.
“If it goes to adjusting boundaries and making revisions we’ll do it in the bases of watershed, science, ecosystems. We want to make sure to protect what the monument is about,” Zinke says.
While Secretary Zinke faced those who were both for and against the monument on Saturday he says that political opinions aside, he saw one thing reign true with all Southern Oregonians and Northern Californians. That everyone loves the land and wants to protect it.
Both the Secretary and Congressman Walden agree that local opinion will play a role in the decision. Citing that it’s important to hear from all sides and that they want the effort to be collaborative. Not just a decision made at our nations capitol without local input.
The official review by Secretary Zinke will be complete on August 24th. If you have an opinion on the matter the office of the Secretary of the Interior welcomes you to make voice that by clicking here.
NBC5 News Reporter Emily Biehl graduated from Chapman University with a Bachelor’s degree in Television and Broadcast Journalism and a minor in Leadership Studies.
Emily interned at KNBC in Los Angeles and was a reporter and Executive Producer for Chapman News, Orange County’s only live newscast. She also recently produced a documentary about homelessness.
Emily loves baking, spending time with family and friends and telling people what animals they resemble!