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
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
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
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
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
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
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.Read More
It is impossible to understand the complex blend of cultures, the powerful connection to the land, and the political landscape that informs the Bears Ears debate without an awareness of the deeply held religious beliefs of Natives and Mormons.
To Native Americans in the Bears Ears region and indigenous peoples around the world, the earth is a living, breathing entity: a nurturer, life-giver, and beloved family member to be treated with unconditional respect.Read More
The county is the poorest in the state, and revenues from extractive industries and ranching are declining while the infrastructure needs are significant. The toxic mix of strong emotions and deep uncertainty make progress on an inclusive and sustainable economic development plan problematic at best. Will leaders find a way to put politics aside and rise to the challenge?Read More
“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.”Read More
As with any place worth exploring, it is impossible to quantify the beauty of San Juan County’s landscapes, or the richness of its indigenous and Anglo cultures. But the debate over the designation of Bears Ears National Monument encompassed more than just the county’s ineffable qualities; it brought to the fore the county’s economic struggles, and how choices its leaders make in the near future could help or hinder its fortunes for years to come.Read More
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.Read More