Posts tagged Public Lands
Bears Ears in the News: Totems, Tit-for-Tats, and a Big Move for the BLM

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:

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Canyon Country Discovery Center Discussion Series on Bears Ears Region

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 2018

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Bears Ears in the News: Feb. 12-25

Two weeks of updates for the price of one! Here's what you may have missed on the Bears Ears beat:

Curtis holds hearing to explain, hear input on bill - San Juan Record, 2/13/18

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.

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Bears Ears: The Future of Bluff, Part 2

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.

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Bears Ears After Trump: Separating Fact From Fiction

“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.

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From A to Zinke: A Beginner's Guide to the Bears Ears Saga

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.

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Context and Subtext: Mormon Theology Edition

Reverence for nature and a calling to take from the earth only what is needed is enshrined in Mormon theology, and, on a personal level, Anglo-Mormon residents of San Juan County express a deep spiritual attachment to the canyons, rivers, mesas, and wide- open spaces of their homeland. Nonetheless, the anti-environmentalist stance of Utah’s most outspoken politicians, many of whom are also members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS) has led many not unfamiliar with LDS teachings to assume Mormons in rural Utah lack strong ties to the land or an ethos of environmental stewardship. Yet as is often the case with religion, the tension lies between doctrine and how its adherents choose to interpret it.

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A Monumental Opportunity for Grassroots Economic Development

“The recreation economy is coming to San Juan County,” says Korenblat, who owns Western Spirit Cycling in Moab. “They can do all they want to try to stop it, but it’s already happening. What they do have the opportunity to do is to shape it and control it and turn it into what they want it to become.”

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Bears Ears: The Tribes' Next Steps

Tribal leaders fully recognize both the opportunity presented by Obama’s action and the political challenges confronting them. Zuni Councilman and Coalition co-chair Carleton Bowekaty says the tribes are prepared to surmount what may be considerable obstacles to success.

“There’s going to be a lot of roadblocks, there’s going to be a lot of issues, but we have plenty of knowledge, [and] we have longevity in mind,” Bowekaty says. “Our view is long range.”

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Letter to America - Reflections on Red Rock Country

The shock, confusion, anger, and grief felt and expressed by many Americans post-election was coupled (for some) with a realization of the essential need to reach across ideological and cultural divides to find common ground. The battle over Bears Ears illustrates the wrenching difficulties facing those who try to reconcile differences among groups with diametrically opposed views on many issues. In San Juan County, those differences are amplified by complex and oft-painful history laden with racism, religious persecution, and conflicts over land ownership and stewardship. 

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