A Summary the Bears Ears National Monument Proclamation
On Wednesday, December 28, 2016, President Obama designated a Bears Ears National Monument in southeast Utah. The new national monument is 1.35 million acres in size, including about 1 million acres of public land managed by the Bureau of Land Management and 290,000 acres managed by the US Forest Service. The monument will be managed by these two agencies, who will undergo a joint planning process that kicks off in January 2017 with public open houses.
In a historic move, the Bears Ears National Monument will recognize Native American traditional and historical knowledge through means of a Commission. The Bears Ears Commission will consist of one elected officer from the Hopi Nation, Navajo Nation, Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, Ute Indian Tribe of the Uintah Ouray, and Zuni Tribe, designated by the officers’ respective tribes. The expertise of the Bears Ears Commission will help further the proclamation’s directive to provide access to members of Indian tribes to traditional and culture use of the land including the collection of plants and firewood.
To allow for local guidance and input, the monument managers will establish an Advisory Committee that will include State and local governments, tribes, recreational users, local business owners, and private landowners.
President Obama’s proclamation recognizes the layered history of Bears Ears and future opportunities for archaeological and paleontological study. It also gives a nod to the many activities that we enjoy in the area like hiking, rock climbing, hunting, backpacking, canyoneering, whitewater rafting, mountain biking, and horseback riding. To manage motorized and non-motorized vehicles in the monument,
To manage motorized and non-motorized vehicles (mountain bikes) in the monument, managers will create a transportation plan to designate which roads and trails will be open to motorized and non-motorized use. This will allow OHV use on routes that are currently designated as open to motorized vehicles. New roads or trails for motorized vehicles will only be allowed for public safety or cultural resource protection.
Like all National Monuments, federal lands in Bears Ears are withdrawn from new mining, energy development, and grazing, and existing valid rights and leases will be honored.
The Future of the Bears Ears National Monument
With a monumental proclamation comes the hard, on-the-ground work. We need your continued support and enthusiasm to keep Bears Ears protected for generations to come!