Conservation Lands Foundation Calls For Bears Ears National Monument designation
President has opportunity to protect most significant, yet unprotected, cultural landscape in America
Durango, CO (July 15, 2016) – The Conservation Lands Foundation applauds the Obama Administration for its leadership in creating a legacy for future generations to enjoy and learn from our country’s natural and cultural treasures and welcomes U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell to Utah.
“We are glad to see the Obama Administration coming to Utah in response to a request from Tribal leaders,” commented Brian O’Donnell, Executive Director of the Conservation Lands Foundation. “Given that there is no viable legislative path to protecting this area, we hope the Administration will take swift action to protect an area that is sacred to Tribes and continues to be under threat.”
The Bears Ears region in Southeast Utah is a place with rich history and incredible opportunities to explore the outdoors. It includes Indian Creek, a place known to many rock climbers, the San Juan river, popular with rafters, and countless canyons like Grand Gulch for people to hike and discover ancient sites in their original setting. Many Native American Tribes have sacred ties to this region and still use these lands for hunting, wood gathering, herb collection and traditional ceremony.
“The Bears Ears region is one of our country’s greatest national treasures. There is nothing else like it, and it will be destroyed unless the President acts to make it a national monument,” said Richard Moe, former president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation and board member of the Conservation Lands Foundation. “For three years, Representative Bishop has consistently stalled the legislative process in an effort to outlast the Obama Administration, but his strategy shouldn’t be allowed to work. If future generations of Americans are to experience the unique Bears Ears cultural landscape, President Obama should use his authority to protect it now.”
The request for a national monument designation is supported by all of the Tribal governments in the region, the National Congress of American Indians, the All Pueblo Council of Governors, local grassroots Navajo and Ute people, as well as the outdoor recreation industry and other business leaders, veterans, archeologists, communities of faith and conservation groups .Recent also polling showed that 71 percent of Utahans support a Bears Ears National Monument.
The Conservation Lands Foundation’s support comes as Secretary Jewell, Agriculture Undersecretary for Natural Resources and Environment Robert Bonnie, and other high ranking Obama Administration officials are touring the Bears Ears region. This tour includes a listening session on Saturday, July 16, in Bluff, Utah, to hear more from Tribes, local residents, and other stakeholders about the future of the region’s public lands.
If designated, the Bears Ears National Monument would be the first national monument designated in response to a direct petition from Native American Tribes.