A cautionary tale

 

Jonathan Thompson’s Jan. 23 article on the Bears Ears National Monument, in a paragraph concerning Utah lawmakers’ pledge to urge Trump to overturn the designation, states that “no president has ever tried to abolish a monument; it’s not clear that it’s even possible.” Right, insofar as current presidential powers. But Congress can, and has, delisted national monuments, one of which stands to this day as a testament to the wrongheadedness of turning federal lands over to local government. After 38 years under the protection of the National Park Service, Shoshone Cavern National Monument in Wyoming, “amid great fanfare” according to wyohistory.org, was delisted in 1954, given to the city of Cody and renamed Spirit Mountain Caverns. After years of vandalism and neglect, and of being unable to make it profitable from tourism, the Cody city government returned the site to the federal government in 1977. Now known as Spirit Mountain Cave, it remains sealed by a padlock, though experienced cavers may gain access by application to the Cody office of the Bureau of Land Management.

Chris Williams
Green River, Wyoming