The Navajo Nation and Utah Diné Bikéyah have offered their vision for the protection and management of natural and cultural resources on federal lands in San Juan County, Utah. After identifying important cultural and biological areas, including Bears Ears which is also sacred to the Ute Mountain Utes, and Cedar Mesa, maps were combined to create the boundaries of the proposed 1.9 million acre Bears Ears National Conservation Area which includes wilderness designations and co-managed areas.
The stated goals proposed for the Diné Bikéyah National Conservation Area (Also known as Bears Ears) are: 1) provide clear management toward the protection of cultural and biological resources over other land-uses; 2) increase funding allocation to improve management of resources for this region; 3) create a process that recognizes the legitimate interests of the Navajo on federal land; and 4) provide a means of incorporating the extensive and valuable knowledge of the Navajo into land management decisions.
The proposal area extends north along the border of the Navajo Reservation to the southern boundary of Canyonlands National Park. A National Conservation Area provides the best management approach to this region, as it allows for a diversity of uses and designations of the land, while directing resources towards priority management issues, such as cultural and natural resource protection.