File under Delicious Irony: San Juan County has launched a splashy new campaign, “Make it Monumental,” which highlights the county’s spectacular public lands and the national monuments within its borders. This is the same county whose elected officials have loudly opposed the creation of Bears Ears National Monument and supported the efforts of Utah’s congressional delegation to abolish the Antiquities Act - the same law that allows presidents to establish (you guessed it) national monuments. (Read our post on the tension between San Juan County’s tourism boosters and elected officials.)Read More
Hello, Readers! After a sleepy start to summer on the Bears Ears beat, controversies are once again blazing like so many wildfires burning across the West. Here are the top stories from Bears Ears country:Read More
The dramatic natural beauty of Bears Ears Country cannot be overstated. Below are a number of interactive panoramas which allow you to explore the landscape. Click on the image and use your mouse or your finger to navigate the panorama from any angle or perspective.
The Canyon Country Discovery Center in Monticello, Utah has embarked on a program to engender community dialogue based on shared understanding of what the public lands in southeastern Utah mean to the people who live here. The discussions will take place at the Canyon Country Discovery Center throughout 2018Read More
As the battle over Bears Ears proceeds in the courts of law and public opinion, those who live and make a living near Bears Ears are shifting their attention toward planning a future with or without a monument.
The continued presence of Bears Ears in national headlines has kept the visitors coming in San Juan County, Utah, and local businesses and tourist attractions are reaping the benefits.Read More
Today is the final day for the public to submit comments on the BLM's management plans for the Trump administration's much-reduced Bears Ears National Monument. Groups such as Utah Diné Bikéyah(UDB), a Native-led nonprofit whose advocacy for the protection of Bears Ears led to the creation of the original monument proposal by Native American tribes, has urged its supporters to participate.Read More
Normally, we bring you a variety of stories exploring different facets of the Bears Ears debate, but this week we're interrupting our regularly scheduled programming to focus on one explosive story.
The investigative piece in question: a detailed investigation by New York Times reporters Eric Lipton and Lisa Friedman, "Oil Was Central in Decision to Shrink Bears Ears National Monument, Emails Show."Read More
Two weeks of updates for the price of one! Here's what you may have missed on the Bears Ears beat:
Utah Rep. John Curtis, who represents residents of the Bears Ears region, has gotten an earful from constituents and politicians on both sides of the aisle who either love or hate his "Bears Ears bill." (The bill, which would memorialize the reduction of the Bears Ears National Monument, is explained more fully here.) The venerable San Juan Record covered a community meeting in San Juan County in which Curtis at turns explained and defended his bill before admitting it was likely as good as dead.Read More
Lots of news on the Bears Ears beat:
Following the brouhaha over President Trump’s rescinding Bears Ears and replacing it with two much smaller designations, lawmakers on the House Natural Resources Committee are seeking to use their power to create new monuments through the legislative process - a method much preferred by many Republicans who view monuments established by a presidential proclamation as "federal/executive overreach."Read More
When you've covered a story or beat long enough, every new development becomes interwoven with the past months or years' coverage. A familiar cast of characters reprises their roles; key themes emerge and recur.
And so it was with the recent House Natural Resources Committee hearings on HR 4532, Utah Rep. John Curtis's bill that would codify President Trump's December 2017 executive order shrinking Bears Ears National Monument. On one side: the Utah Congressional delegation, Republicans on the committee, and the San Juan County Commissioners, represented by Commissioner Rebecca Benally; on the other, elected leaders from the five sovereign tribes of the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition: The Hopi, Navajo, Ute Mountain Ute, Zuni, and the Ute Indian Tribe.Read More
Outside has done consistently solid reporting on all things Bears Ears and public lands. Don't let the fatalistic URL fool you: this piece takes a clear-eyed look at the opening of lands formerly within Bears Ears National Monument to resource extraction, and explains why we're unlikely to see an "1800s-style land rush" bonanza anytime soon.
Our weekly sampling of stories from the Bears Ears beat:
Utah Governor Gary Herbert says the new plan will encourage tourists to explore scenic areas beyond the state's "Mighty Five" national parks, which thanks to a wildly successful marketing campaign are now severely overcrowded. Some Herbert critics see irony in the Governor's seeking to promote outdoor tourism.Read More
A smattering of stories from the Bears Ears beat:
In our first news roundup of 2018, we shared a feisty tit-for-tat from the editorial page of Monticello, Utah's San Juan Record. The above letter continues the conversation between the residents of San Juan County, Utah and the "outsiders" who love Bears Ears.Read More
A sampling of stories from the Bears Ears beat:
Archaeologist Bill Lipe has spent more than 50 years working in the American Southwest and is one of the foremost experts on the archaeology of the Bears Ears region. In this piece, he makes the case for preservation of the entire Bears Ears cultural landscape, not merely the best-known archaeological sites. A good read and well worth 15 minutes of your time.Read More
Happy New Year, dear readers! Here's your first news roundup of 2018:
The week's biggest Bears Ears story centers on a bill introduced by new Utah Rep. John Curtis (R), elected last fall to replace former Congressman-turned-Fox News commentator Jason Chaffetz. The Shaash Jaa National Monument and Indian Creek National Monument ActRead More
When we spoke with residents of Bluff, Utah last month about their decision to incorporate as a town, the original Bears Ears National Monument established in December 2016 by Barack Obama was still intact. Bluff, a tiny community of 250 or so people in Utah’s southeastern corner that lay just outside the monument, was still widely expected to become the de facto gateway to Bears Ears. But that was before the Trump trip.Read More
“Land grab.” “Local people.” “Left behind.”
These are some of the words and phrases that opposing sides have wielded as weapons against one another in the battle for the future of Bears Ears National Monument. In the weeks since President Donald J. Trump issued an Executive Order shrinking Bears Ears by 85 percent and reducing another controviersial Utah monument, Grand Staircase-Escalante, by nearly half, the rhetoric has reached a fever pitch.Read More
A sampling of stories from the Bears Ears beat:
Zinke, House GOP escalate feud with Patagonia over shrinking of national monuments - Associated Press via Denver Post, 12/11/17
After outdoor retail giant Patagonia published an attention-grabbing message in response to President Trump's shrinking of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and House GOP leaders fought back.Read More
Well, folks, it really happened. Yesterday, during a whirlwind trip to Utah, President Trump signed an Executive Order shrinking Bears Ears National Monument from 1.35 million acres to 202,000 acres and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument from 1.9 million acres to just over 1 million acres. So what happens now? Let us break it down for you.Read More
Tiny Bluff, Utah sits on the edge of Bears Ears National Monument - and at the heart of the hotly contested debate over the monument’s future. National publicity has drawn more people to Bluff, which has branded itself as the “Proud Gateway to Bears Ears." But can the community find a way to grow to meet tourist demand while maintaining its unique character? Read on...Read More