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
A small sampling of the latest Bears Ears news for your reading pleasure.
Southern Utah Uranium Producers Hope Trump’s Trade Decision Will Benefit Them - Salt Lake Tribune
New Advisory Panel for Bears Ears National Monument Becomes Latest Flashpoint in Debate - St. George News
Tensions high as residents comment at meeting - San Juan Record
At the end of March, we reached Blanding resident Kay Shumway, whose family's ties to the region date back to the early 1900s. Shumway, who is an Anglo member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormon), feels strongly that the court-imposed redistricting was intended "to punish the people of Blanding, pure and simple."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
“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
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.
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
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
One of the greatest challenges of this project has been trying to explain what our work is about to those unfamiliar with the story we have been following for well over two years. In this blog, and with our books, we are trying to create that space to provide context that is missing from many news stories and to humanize what can be complex and wonky issues. With that in mind, let's take a whirlwind tour of the Bears Ears cultural and political landscape.Read More