The Time is Now: Protect Bears Ears
In southeastern Utah, a battle has been brewing between conservationists, recreationalists and resource extractionists. The pressure on all sides has increased as the stakes grow higher. At risk is the preservation of climbing in Indian Creek, Castle Valley, Fisher Towers, San Rafael Swell, Valley of the Gods, Texas and Arch Canyons, Lockhart Basin, Comb Ridge, and other remote areas collectively known as the Bears Ears region. Not only is climbing at risk but also other recreational resources, the fragile desert environment and priceless Native American heritage.
There are two initiatives under consideration in the legislature right now. One is the Public Lands Initiative (PLI) which, as explained by the American Alpine Club, seeks to “manage state and federal lands in Southeast Utah. It threatens designated Wilderness, supports the transfer of federal lands to the state, and for the majority of the lands in question, it prioritizes resource extraction over both recreation and conservation.”The preferred alternative to PLI is the Bears Ears National Monument. Proposed by an inter-tribal coalition, its goal is to set aside 1.9 million acres including Indian Creek, Valley of the Gods and Comb Ridge as well as 100,000+ archaeological sites, many of which are sacred or critical to Native American cultures.
There are less than 300 days left before President Obama leaves office and he will not designate a Bears Ears National Monument unless it has overwhelming support. He needs to know that, just as each of us has unique and inherent gifts, so does the land. Development and resource extraction has its place, but not here. Democracy has power, but only if you raise your voice.
Help protect Bears Ears in southeastern Utah. Ask President Obama to use his authority under the Antiquities Act to create the Bears Ears National Monument.
To learn more and see what’s at stake, please watch Defined By the Line, a short film by Fitz Cahall and Patagonia. Social media activists can share the video, photos and a link to the petition using the#ProtectBearsEars hashtag on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Thank you for making your voices heard.