Utah - Bears Ears National Monument

State: Utah
Region: San Juan County



President Trump’s April 26th, 2017 Executive Order called for “review” of national monuments created since 1996. The Department of the Interior (DOI) set up a public comment process for the National Monuments targeted by the order and the Bears Ears National Monument received overwhelming support from the public - over 685,000 messages of support in just 15 days! Secretary Zinke's initial report calls for scaling back the boundaries which drew heavy criticism from conservation groups and the five tribes who proposed the monument. The comment period has been extended until July 10th and you can submit comments here.

The 1.35 million acre Bears Ears National Monument was proclaimed by President Obama on Dec. 28, 2016. It is a landscape of deep, carved canyons, long mesas, inspiring arches, and arresting red rock formations. The monument’s namesake, the Bears Ears, are twin buttes in the heart of the landscape that rise high above the piñon-juniper forests and canyons that adorn the renowned and majestic Cedar Mesa. It lies in Southern Utah, north of the Navajo Nation and the San Juan River, east of the Colorado River, and west of the Ute Mountain Ute Reservation. Bears Ears is adjacent to Canyonlands National Park and is every bit the equal of Canyonlands and the other great parks and monuments of the Colorado Plateau.

(Excerpt from BearsEarsCoalition.org)


The Bears Ears National Monument is a place rich in history and culture. It is a place to connect, a place to heal, and a place where Native American traditional knowledge can be explored and nurtured so that it continues to inform and illuminate modern life. The Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition, a consortium of five sovereign Indian nations — the Hopi, Navajo, Uintah & Ouray Ute, Ute Mountain Ute, and Zuni — for years has spearheaded the effort to conserve the area in order to protect this extraordinary place for Native Tribes, all Native people, and the nation.


The monument proclamation creates a joint management plan for the area with the BLM, Forest Service and a commission that is made up of elected officials from the coalition’s five tribes and will integrate traditional and historical knowledge into management decisions. This type of co-management is unprecedented for tribes, and for ancestral lands that lie outside their reservations.


Utah leaders dismissed a six-year effort by the Inter-Tribal Coalition to protect lands around Cedar Mesa, to the tribes pushed President Obama, who acted after a lengthy fact-finding and public process. Obama moved forward with the monument proclamation after an alternate proposal, the Public Lands Initiative, failed in Congress; and he adjusted the boundaries of the monument to more closely fit with the protected areas outlined in the Initiative.


EcoFlight has been involved with Bears Ears since the inception of the tribes’ proposal to protect this area, and has flown dozens of flights with tribes, press, climbers, conservationists and elected officials. We are thrilled that Bears Ears is finally protected: it has been 80 years since the first proposal to protect this culturally rich landscape.


Wild Lands