Newly released documents from May 2017 show that land management officials described Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument as a boon for tourism, science, and historic preservation.
The emails and memos were written about six months before President Donald Trump cut the monument’s size nearly in half.
The Washington Post reports that in writing the memos officials with the BLM used the work of outside researchers to conclude that not naming Grand Staircase a national monument would have resulted in fewer visitors and more vandalism.
The documents were also shared with CNN by the Center For Western Priorities.
A spokesman for the center told CNN that the documents show that Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke was clearly warned that cultural and historical artifacts in Grand Staircase and Bears Ears National Monuments couldn’t be protected without national monument designations.