A Monumental Opportunity for Grassroots Economic Development

The narrative that investing in tourism infrastructure to promote places like Bears Ears National Monument will threaten traditional ways of making a living is powerful and pervasive. Exhibit A: the characterization of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments as massive federal land grabs that have decimated or soon will devastate the local economy by replacing well-paying mining and ranching jobs with minimum-wage, low-skill work flipping burgers and cleaning hotel rooms for wealthy tourists.

Mudhills near Bluff   Bears Ears Country

There are many reasons why a small but vocal minority of Utahns adhere to this narrative—attachment to industries that form a large part of their cultural identity; nostalgia for times when legacy industries were booming and brought prosperity to the area; and a belief, reinforced by elected leaders, that those industries will reverse their decline and make the county’s economy great again.

Read more at Terrain.org