Leonardo DiCaprio foundation backing Utah national monument

SALT LAKE CITY — Leonardo DiCaprio's foundation is chipping in to support a new national monument in southern Utah that's been a flashpoint in the debate over public land use in the West, officials said Friday.

His environmental group is one of several donating to create the $1.5 million Bears Ears Community Engagement Fund, which is aimed at supporting local efforts to preserve natural resources and protect the park's trove of archaeological sites from looting and other threats.

The money could be spent on things like locating and putting up signs at ancient sites tucked amid picturesque cliffs, plateaus and towering rock formations in the Bears Ears monument about 300 miles south of Salt Lake City, said Michael Scott with the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

The fund will also support efforts from the five American Indian tribes who will get a say in how the land is managed, a first for a national monument.

A coalition of American Indian tribes pushed the Obama administration to create the monument that protects the land from new mining and oil and gas development.

DiCaprio sent out messages on his Facebook and Instagram accounts in May 2016 urging people to sign petitions in support. A representative for DiCaprio didn't immediately have comment on the donation Friday.

President Barack Obama designated the 1.35-million-acre monument in the Four Corners region in December despite objections from Utah Republican leaders and rural residents who said it will add another layer of unnecessary federal control.

It's a common argument in the battle over use of the American West's vast open spaces, and one that opponents of the monument hope has traction during Donald Trump's presidency. Opponents agree the area is worth preserving but argue the federal designation will go too far and bar people from camping, hiking or gathering wood.

Related News

Meghan Markle 'really happy and in love' with Prince Harry

Sep 5, 2017

Meghan Markle says she and Prince Harry are "two people who are really happy and in love."

'DWTS' host: Lochte protesters rushing stage was 'unnerving'

Sep 13, 2016

"Dancing with the Stars" host Tom Bergeron says everyone was shocked when two men rushed the stage to protest Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte after his performance on the ABC reality competition

Jordan Peele's 'Get Out' follow-up set for 2019 release

May 22, 2017

Comedian turned filmmaker Jordan Peele is following up the remarkable success of "Get Out" with a provocative original thriller set for release in March 2019

You may also like these

Meghan Markle 'really happy and in love' with Prince Harry

Sep 5, 2017

Meghan Markle says she and Prince Harry are "two people who are really happy and in love."

'DWTS' host: Lochte protesters rushing stage was 'unnerving'

Sep 13, 2016

"Dancing with the Stars" host Tom Bergeron says everyone was shocked when two men rushed the stage to protest Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte after his performance on the ABC reality competition

Jordan Peele's 'Get Out' follow-up set for 2019 release

May 22, 2017

Comedian turned filmmaker Jordan Peele is following up the remarkable success of "Get Out" with a provocative original thriller set for release in March 2019

Gempak Media delivers the most talked and gempak stories on the Internet to you. Be the first to know about the latest news and don’t forget to share it around.

Contact us: sales@gempakmedia.com

Animation & Comics Award Shows Celebrity Books & Literature Fashion Shows Movies Music Performing Arts Fashion Design Entertaining Occasions Shopping Travel Press