On Monday, Dec. 4, President Donald Trump announced that he'd be slashing the size of Utah's Bears Ears National Monument.

The southwestern landscape — which currently covers 1.3 million acres of red rock canyons, sweeping vistas, and archaeology sites, such as ancient cliff dwellings — would be shrunk to about 15% of its current size. Another nearby monument, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, would also be cut by about half.

Photo by Bob Wick/Bureau of Land Management/Flickr.

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Teddy Roosevelt once said, "It is not what we have that will make us a great nation; it is the way in which we use it."

Roosevelt was an avid sportsman, outdoorsman, and hunter. He was an explorer and roughrider. While he really loved shooting things, he also saw the very real potential humans had to exhaust nature's resources.

When he became president in 1901, he wanted to use his power to protect the wild places he loved. And oh boy, he did. He quickly established his legacy as one of our nation's great conservationists, and while in office, he used his powers to create or add to six national parks and 18 national monuments.

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On his way out the door, President Barack Obama is leaving America with two brand-spanking-new national monuments.

Gold Butte, Nevada. Photo by Ron Mader/Flickr.

The areas surrounding Nevada's Gold Butte and Utah's Bears Ears Buttes, which include hundreds of thousands of acres of canyons, fragile rock formations, and ancient Native American structures, are now protected by executive order.

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