Top 10 Memorable Moments of 2017


FCM announces Visit with Respect Education Center: Our most ambitious project ever

We’re stepping up for the landscape to create the Bears Ears Visit with Respect Education Center. It’s an audaciously aspirational effort that will require us to raise $840,000 in the next few months. Our goal? To provide friendly visitor guidance to many of the new visitors coming to Bears Ears – resulting in reduced visitor impacts and visitors gaining a real appreciation for why this internationally significant landscape is worth protecting forever. Learn more about the Education Center here.


FCM joins coalition filing a lawsuit to defend Bears Ears after Trump’s announcement to slash monument boundaries

Suing the President of the United States – that’s a big step for our little organization. We’ve never litigated against anyone before, and it’s an absolute last resort. In fact, we always look to collaborate first, second and third. But it was a monumentally bad decision on December 4, 2017 to leave 1.1 million acres of one of the world’s most important cultural landscapes unprotected and open to oil/gas drilling and uranium mining. So, we’re going to court to defend Bears Ears, Cedar Mesa, Grand Gulch, Bluff’s watershed, and so many other remarkable places that should be preserved forever. Learn more about our lawsuit and how you can help here.


Successful first Visit with Respect Ambassador training

An incredibly positive Visit with Respect Ambassador training last April was followed by another one in September, resulting in over 40 trained volunteers. You may see these Ambassadors on the popular trails in Bears Ears, providing friendly visitor tips and etiquette. Thank you to the BLM for your support in launching this program!

Want to become an Ambassador yourself? Our next training is March 24-25, 2018. Email Erica Tucker for details.



Announcement of oil & gas lease sale in archaeologically rich eastern San Juan County triggers major policy effort

Earlier in 2017, the BLM announced its intention to lease 57,000 acres of land in San Juan and Grand Counties for oil and gas development at an auction to be held in March of 2018. Unfortunately, many of the parcels in San Juan County overlap with incredibly culturally-sensitive areas like Recapture Canyon, Montezuma Canyon, and Alkali Ridge. FCM has been involved since day one and has asked the BLM to defer several of the parcels, including parcels that were removed from past auctions because of their cultural resource density. We will continue to bring you updates on this policy issue in 2018.



Historic Shumway cabin restoration project completed

In an amazing partnership with SITLA, local residents, archaeologists, and volunteers, FCM completed the stabilization of the historic Shumway Cabin in Recapture Wash. The need to protect this old cabin was first brought to our attention by Kay Shumway, whose ancestors built and homesteaded the property. We encourage you to respectfully visit the historic site, where there’s now an interpretive sign with information on the history and process.




Zinke tours Bears Ears in review process and recommends cutting monument

Ignoring overwhelming public support for Bears Ears and public lands, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke recommended severe cuts to the Monument in the summer of 2017. His recommendation, which he made after a brief trip to the area, showed disrespect for the international significance of the Bears Ears area – for Native American Tribes, for American history, and for recreation. Bears Ears is exactly the kind of cultural landscape – filled with real antiquities that are inextricably connected with their surroundings – that Congress intended the Antiquities Act to protect.



Volunteers make a big difference on National Public Lands Day and a bunch of other projects!

Despite the whiplash and heartbreak of attacks on public lands in 2017, there were many positive contributions to our public lands to celebrate. In 2017, volunteers more than doubled our 2016 volunteer hours on public lands from 800 to over 1700! Thank you to those who gave to landscape – and kudos to our partners at the BLM, NPS, USFS and SITLA for making these stewardship events possible.



Three new employees massively elevate FCM’s program work

If you haven’t yet met our newest employees, Erica Tucker, Britt Hornsby, and Wanda Raschkow, make it a point in 2018 to stop by the new Education Center and meet these rockstars. In 2017, they seriously stepped up our program game, helping us expand our on-the-ground education, stewardship work, and archaeological site monitoring.


Above, crew members from the Acoma Conservation Corps are hard at work stabilizing towers using locally-sourced mortar.


FCM makes progress on a major project at Cave Towers, thanks to the hard work volunteers and the Acoma Conservation Corps crew.

Cave Towers is a beloved area of Cedar Mesa that has been recently threatened by cattle and vehicles that get too close to its 800-year-old structures. After consultation with the Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration, we developed a plan to help stabilize the towers and bring in fencing made of natural materials to protect the site. We had the honor of working with the Acoma Conservation Corps on the stabilization. A lot more work needs to be accomplished at this special site, so email Britt if you’d like to get involved in 2018.


2017 starts with a new Bears Ears National Monument, which just turned one year old on 12/28/17!

Happy Birthday, Bears Ears National Monument! We’ll continue to work with Tribes, agency partners, and volunteers to respect and protect these treasured public lands. We are grateful for a full, productive year working for these and all public lands in San Juan County, Utah. Read our full report on 2017 here.


Author: Amanda Podmore

Amanda Podmore is the Assistant Director of Friends of Cedar Mesa.

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