Lyndon Johnson gives us a shining example of last-minute vision in redrock country. While he dressed in his White House bedroom for Richard Nixon's inauguration on Jan. 20, 1969, LBJ signed a final round of proclamations. He created Marble Canyon National Monument — later added to Grand Canyon National Park. He expanded Capitol Reef by six times and added crucial acreage to Arches. (Both were national monuments established decades earlier by presidents using the Antiquities Act.) These were Johnson's last accomplishments as president, likely completed while putting on his pants.
President Barack Obama has the same chance to make conservation history in canyon country. He has before him a groundbreaking Bears Ears National Monument proposal, respectfully submitted by native people. He's considering a Greater Grand Canyon Heritage National Monument that permanently protects the Greater Grand Canyon watershed.