For nearly four years, the Salt Lake Tribune has consistently provided the most consistent and comprehensive coverage of the Bears Ears saga. Reporters Brian Maffly and Thomas Burr, with key assists from other Tribune staff writers, have followed the legal battle that ensued after President Trump drastically reduced Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments in December 2017. Here, Burr examines the status of the lawsuits filed by tribes and conservationistsRead More
We recently caught up with Charles Wilkinson, Moses Lasky Professor of Law at the University of Colorado Law School and asked him to reflect on the history of public lands battles in southeast Utah, the significance of the Bears Ears National Monument established by former President Barack Obama in 2016, and his predictions regarding the lawsuits challenging President Trump’s reduction of the Obama monument in late 2017.Read More
We caught up with Josh Ewing, Executive Director of Friends of Cedar Mesa on a day when he was acting as “sole parent in charge” of the Bears Ears Education Center in Bluff, Utah. The newly-established Center opened in fall 2018Read More
We caught up with Mark Maryboy several weeks before the fourth anniversary of the inaugural gathering of Hopi, Zuni and 19 other tribes in Bluff, Utah.Read More
It’s been a busy month for lawmakers and conservation advocates on Capitol Hill. Here, we take a look at the most significant developments and what they portend for Bears Ears and public lands across the U.S.Read More
While the fate of Bears Ears awaits the outcome of litigation, one of the proponents of the monument designation — the nonprofit Utah Dine Bikeyah (UDB), whose Native-led efforts to preserve land and culture helped secure protection of Bears Ears — has initiated efforts aimed at working with San Juan County officials to identify potential paths toward a more robust economic future.Read More
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke will step down from his post at the end of 2018; it is rumored that the White House issued him an ultimatum: resign or be fired.
(Image of Ryan Zinke courtesy of the U.S. Department of the Interior)Read More
“I think they may have set a really good precedent and created a template for other tribes to protect their ancestral lands. Out of all of this mess, what’s most promising is that we see a real ripple effect [that can] change the conservation movement and elevate the voices of historically underrepresented groups who really are the First Peoples of the planet.”Read More
Lawsuit and management plan updates:
Bears Ears, Grand Staircase lawsuits will stay in D.C. as judge rejects Trump administration motion to move them to Utah
Trump Loses Ground to Environmentalists in Utah
An update on Bears Ears management plans
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 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
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
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