SALT LAKE CITY – President Trump signed a proclamation Monday to scale back two sprawling national monuments in Utah, pledging to “reverse federal overreach and restore the rights of this land to your citizens.”

Trump made his plans official during a speech at the state Capitol, where he was cheered by the state’s Republican leaders who lobbied him to undo protections they contend are overly broad and close off the area to energy development and other access.

Environmental and tribal groups plan to sue to preserve monuments they say are vital to protect important archaeological and cultural resources, especially the Bears Ears National Monument, a more than 1.3 million-acre (2,030-square-mile) site in southeastern Utah that features thousands of Native American artifacts, including ancient cliff dwellings and petroglyphs.

Ancestral Pueblo ruins, known as “House on Fire Ruins” for the smoldering color of the sandstone, are among the 100,000 archeological sites within the Bear Ears National Monument that President Trump is scaling back by more than 90 percent. The ruins are 800 years old. Washington Post photo by Katherine Frey

“Some people think that the natural resources of Utah should be controlled by a small handful of very distant bureaucrats located in Washington,” Trump said. “And guess what? They’re wrong.”

Two national monuments in New England – Maine’s Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument and Northeast Canyons and Seamounts National Marine Monument off the coast of southern New England – were among 27 reviewed by the Trump administration.

Interior Department spokeswoman Heather Swift said Monday the administration had “no new announcements on other monuments at this time.” Swift did not respond to a question about when a decision would be announced about Katahdin Woods and Waters, an 87,500-monument created just east of Baxter State Park by President Obama.

While the Interior Department never publicly released Secretary Ryan Zinke’s recommendations on Katahdin, copies were obtained by media organizations. Zinke recommended changes “to promote a healthy forest through active timber management” and to prioritize traditional uses such as hunting and fishing.

Hunting is currently allowed on roughly one-quarter of the parcels that make up Katahdin Woods and Waters, while fishing is allowed throughout the monument. There is currently no timber harvesting on the monument lands.

In Utah, roughly 3,000 demonstrators lined up near the State Capitol protesting Trump’s announcement. The protesters held signs that said, “Keep your tiny hands off our public lands,” and they chanted, “Lock him up!” A smaller group gathered in support of Trump’s decision, including some who said they favor potential drilling or mining there that could create jobs.

The Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments were among a group of 27 monuments that Trump ordered Zinke to review this year.

Bears Ears, created last year by President Barack Obama, will be reduced to 201,876 acres (315 square miles).

Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, designated in 1996, will be reduced from nearly 1.9 million acres (nearly 3,000 square miles) to 1,003,863 acres (1,569 square miles).

Protesters gather before a visit by President Trump in Salt Lake City. The Salt Lake Tribune via Associated Press/ Trent Nelson

Trump also met with leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and toured Welfare Square, a church-run complex in Salt Lake City that aids the poor.

Zinke accompanied Trump aboard Air Force One, as did Utah’s Republican senators, Orrin Hatch and Mike Lee. Hatch and other Utah Republican leaders pushed Trump to launch the review, saying the monuments declared by Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton locked up too much federal land.

Trump exited the plane with Hatch and was greeted by cheers from a crowd assembled for the arrival. Hatch joined the president on a rope line, where Trump engaged in some small talk and signed someone’s hat before he was driven to his next stop.

Trump said Monday while leaving the White House that the monument announcement is “something that the state of Utah and others have wanted to be done for many, many years.” He said it is “so important for states’ rights and so important for the people of Utah.”

In December, shortly before leaving office, Obama irritated Utah Republicans by creating the Bears Ears National Monument on land sacred to Native Americans.

Trump signed an executive order in April directing Zinke to review the protections. Trump is able to upend the protections under the 1906 Antiquities Act, which gives the president broad authority to declare federal lands as monuments and restrict their use.

Trump said at the time that he had spoken to state and local leaders “who are gravely concerned about this massive federal land grab. And it’s gotten worse and worse and worse, and now we’re going to free it up, which is what should have happened in the first place. This should never have happened.”

The move marks the first time in a half century that a president has undone these types of land protections. And it could be the first of many changes to come.

Zinke has also recommended that Nevada’s Gold Butte and Oregon’s Cascade-Siskiyou monuments be reduced in size, though details remain unclear. The former Montana congressman’s plan would allow logging at a newly designated monument in Maine and more grazing, hunting and fishing at two sites in New Mexico.

Democrats and environmentalists have opposed the changes, accusing Trump and Zinke of engaging in a secretive process aimed at helping industry groups that have donated to Republican political campaigns.

Staff Writer Kevin Miller contributed to this report.

Associated Press writers Brady McCombs and Michelle L. Price in Salt Lake City and Darlene Superville and Ken Thomas in Washington contributed to this report.