Op-ed: A realistic view of Bears Ears National Monument

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  • DG Pace Salt Lake City, UT
    May 9, 2017 1:10 p.m.

    There are many aspects of the Monument, not just public policy. RepertoryDanceTheater and UtahDineBikeyah are approaching the area as everyone's land that we should be celebrating. In particular we should be celebrating the unprecedented coming together of 5 tribes to advocate for the protection of this cultural-rich area and for those tribes to become co-managers of it. Long before Zinke decided to show up RDT commissioned a work by NYC-based Zvi Gotheiner which I hope will add a level of gravitas to how public lands get perceived by Utahns and others. That the Company is down there together with Zinke at this moment is a coincidence, but underscores that there is more than one way to see the issue. We can view it collectively as a cultural and spiritual resource.

  • sgutke Mapleton, UT
    May 9, 2017 11:31 a.m.

    Unfortunately, I see the Native Americans once again being used as pawns in a chess match where the King (Certain Federal Agencies) is doing his best to avoid check-mate by
    The People, and a State that keeps blaring their voices out their Rook window, seemingly always one step behind. In the meantime, Native Americans are being used on both sides of the board. I wish that Native Americans would use their own voice, climb on their Knight, and let out a war cry. Why fight for a voice in a monument co-council when you can fight to finally own something, anything. Most Americans do not understand that the Government "already" owns and manages over 56 million acres of Sacred Native Land, called Reservations. If Native Americans' co-voice in Bears Ears equals their voice in the current land held "in-trust" by the US Government then they have very little to look forward to, and very little to trust. This fight, if we are going to include Native Americans, should not be about a monument, rather it should be about poverty and reliance on a Government who needs to let "individual" Native Americans finally own property on the playing board, then everyone can play Monopoly together.

  • UtahloverfromIdaho Ketchum, ID
    April 17, 2017 6:35 p.m.

    This op-ed doesn't make any sense. It seems more like a tirade against the federal government than an argument against the BENM. What information has been forced upon Utahns? The BENM boundaries are the same as Rep. Bishop's PLI bill, all existing uses remain in place, and Native Americans will, for the first time in history, be allowed to manage an area that is scared toi them in a way that will preserve their heritage and educate others about their important history, Also important, the natural habitat will be spared from further mining, logging, and real estate development. I ask again what has been forced upon Utahns?? Everyone knows the real issue is about allowing more oil and gas exploration, coal mining, logging and real estate development. The BENM benefits all native or non-native Americans who are the real owners of this awesome cultural landscape.

  • rmwarnick Draper, UT
    April 17, 2017 2:05 p.m.

    Some of us have been advocating for wilderness designation of the Bears Ears area for more than 35 years. With the one exception of Dark Canyon Wilderness (1984), the Utah congressional delegation has long ignored the obvious need for recognition and protection of wilderness values in San Juan County.

    President Obama did the right thing. Now it's up to the federal government, the tribal governments, and all concerned citizens to devise better ways to manage this unique world-class national monument. All of us in Utah ought to be grateful that so much of our state merits special recognition.

    BTW I am a U.S. Army veteran. We can all wave the flag equally as Americans.

  • Ernest T. Bass Bountiful, UT
    April 17, 2017 12:19 p.m.

    I know it won't happen but I would love to see a Dnews editorial about the positive sides to Monuments and National Parks.
    Can anyone imagine Utah without Zion, Arches, Canyonlands, Bryce or Capital Reef? The locals opposed all of those designations as well.
    Look at the businesses in Escalante, they are all grateful for GSENM.
    Why doesn't the Dnews publish a pro op-ed written by one of the many tribes who support the monument?

  • Laura Bilington Maple Valley, WA
    April 16, 2017 7:11 a.m.

    “Why incorporate a national monument when there are already existing federal protections for the land for every single reason that creating a monument was called for?”

    “Existing federal protections” were not sufficient to keep the good citizens of San Juan County from looting the graves. They weren’t enough to keep Mr. Lyman and his friends on the proper paths. How, specifically, would local control have better protected this land? Or do you not care, since it’s not *your* ancestors who are buried there?

    “With all these levels of protection, how did the monument still happen?”

    Well, not everybody thought that oil wells and strip mines enhance the beauty of the land. Because the R’s budget was short on enforcement money. Because the locals who were “caring” for the land were also looting the gravesites.

    For local control at its finest, look at the satellite view of Eastern Kentucky. Even 300 miles up in the air, you can clearly see the results. Those beige blobs on those beautiful hills aren’t clouds--they are abandoned strip mines, destroyed by the coal industry.

  • Laura Bilington Maple Valley, WA
    April 16, 2017 6:06 a.m.

    @kigalia wrote, "San Juan County's public land has remained "pristine"for hundreds of years".

    Sure has. Remember in May 2014 when Phil Lyman led that backpacking tour of Recapture Canyon just to illustrate how respectfully the locals have cared for the land over the last 150 years? And at the very moment that Lyman & Co. were posing for the cameras, showing the world that all of the thousands of graves in Bears Ears have remained untouched, the evil federal agents were ripping up Blanding Cemetery with their ATVs.

    This is what I remember. I suppose it's possible that I might have gotten a few details wrong.

  • Zina Young Sandy, UT
    April 16, 2017 4:31 a.m.

    The author brings up twice that he is a veteran. While I applaud people for making this choice I don't see how it gives anyone extra credibility on any topic that they want.

    Stop using your military background as a prop, it cheapens the title.

  • high school fan Huntington, UT
    April 15, 2017 10:03 p.m.

    Bears Ears is not Navajo Nation land but is a place that has many native artifacts but then all of southern Utah is. You can find artifacts anywhere down there.
    Every Navajo home on the reservation outside the few cities uses a wood stove and Bears Ears is a popular wood gathering location
    And nobody is drilling or mining anywhere near this place, that is an environmentalist scare tactic
    Some of Bears Ears is cool but no cooler than most other land is southern Utah or northern Arizona.

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    April 15, 2017 7:33 p.m.

    This piece contains so many pieces of misinformation it's almost impossible to know where to start.

  • kigalia ,
    April 15, 2017 7:28 p.m.

    Yes, elections do have consequences, and that is why we support Utah's duly elected congressmen, and Governor in their united efforts to rescind this ill thought out 1.3 million disaster. Why would a country $20 Trillion dollars in debt, keep tying up more land and layering on more federal restrictions, that are unneeded and can't be paid for without more debt? San Juan County's public land has remained "pristine"for hundreds of years, and now the environmental community wants us to turn to tourism as the only valid economy base? Moab's household median income is even less than San Juan County's and they have had a "booming" tourism for decades. When we turn away from multiple use, we are turning to government serfdom in communities adjacent to National Parks and Monuments. See what has happened on most reservations, when they were forced to be wards of the government. Free enterprise should be encouraged, not decried.
    Despite the pros and cons of using natural resources, and the rise and fall of markets, taxes from uranium and oil built the schools in San Juan County, and paved the roads. A wide a varied businesses is needed to be "self-sustaining" in a healthy economy.

  • cmsense Kaysville, UT
    April 15, 2017 4:29 p.m.

    @ Laura Billingham

    Parks do vary in size. I agree that is not news or relevant. That they vary is size though is very relevant in regards to the statute and the examples of previous monuments and how limited they were and how focused they were to actually only protect a treasure. What is relevant is does the monument follow the statute it was built on. "the limits of which in all cases shall be confined to the smallest area compatible with the proper care and management of the objects to be protected." Does Canyon de chelly lock up all of the Navajo reservation land that has loads of relics or just what is a treasure to be protected?

    Most commenters on here I doubt have even been to Bears Ears. I've been there, and most of it is just a wide expanse of......land. There are some treasures to be had, but not 1.3 million acres of treasures. It is very similar to wide expanses of land also with the possibility of indian relics all through New Mexico, Arizona, and Colorado. There is a strong argument that most of it is just a lot of open space with not a lot of special geographical or historical significance. Protect what is special and keep it at that.

  • jackjoh RIVERTON, UT
    April 15, 2017 3:43 p.m.

    This from Ryan Benally
    As a result, nearly all of San Juan County’s natives sat in a Senate’s Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing in Blanding, Utah, last summer. They spoke to our elected Utah leaders about why another national monument was the wrong answer to protecting lands we all share. Why incorporate a national monument when there are already existing federal protections for the land for every single reason that creating a monument was called for?
    With all these levels of protection, how did the monument still happen? Years ago, out-of-state business organizations and radical environmental groups tried to implement a “wilderness area” — the legislative equivalent to a national monument. The boundary proposal was suspiciously the exact dimensions as what Bears Ears National Monument is today.
    One of these environmental groups in southern Utah has a yearly income of over 2 million dollars, spent over 100 thousand for a director, 225 thousand for legal fees, 1.2 million on Wilderness studies, 500 thousand on RS2477 studies, and 50 thousand on lobbying (probably easterners/ the President or out of State tribes.
    Sometimes you get what you pay for but did we need it?

  • Laura Bilington Maple Valley, WA
    April 15, 2017 9:33 a.m.

    @cmsense wrote,

    " For comparison, Canyonlands National park is 337,598 acres, but Bears Ears is 1,351,849 acres. "

    You are correct.

    And Lake Clark National Park has 4,045,000 acres and Hot Springs national Park has 5549 acres.

    Parks vary in size. This isn't news. And monuments vary in size. Also not news.

    Now if you took part of your back lawn and made it into a vegetable garden, would your neighbors be justified in calling that a "land grab"?

  • 10CC Bountiful, UT
    April 15, 2017 8:21 a.m.

    If Navajo wiseman Mark Maryboy was opposed to BENM, and then came to support it, Utahns of all stripes should consider taking the same position.

    Mark Maryboy's long record of advocating for Native American interests (and even voting rights) in San Juan County speaks for itself.

    Nobody is going to pull the wool over Maryboy's eyes.

    BENM is the right thing to do.

  • Laura Bilington Maple Valley, WA
    April 15, 2017 7:34 a.m.

    "..our disenfranchised native people who were scared to enter the monument for wood gathering."

    I'm not surprised that they are scared. Remember reading about the millions that that the feds are spending for armed guards to block the paths of Bears' Ears? Oh, sorry, my mistake. That's the additional expense for the security detail for Trump's family.

    But they should be scared, because--well, you remember reading about the raids on native American woodpiles, where they were looking for scrounged wood to see if it came from Bears' Ears? Oh, no, my mistake again. I'm thinking of the ICE raids on the Mexicans gathered at the Home Depot parking lot.

    Maybe it's because we're having an uncommonly cold winter and there's a fuel shortage? I know, it's April and it was 72° yesterday, but it might get really cold tonight....

    Perhaps the writer could give us the contact information for a few native Americans and I could ask them just why they are "scared"? Also I'd like to know just how many cords of firewood they gathered in the Bears' Ears monument area in the 2010-2016 calendar years.

  • cmsense Kaysville, UT
    April 14, 2017 7:56 p.m.

    Our family spent a number of days down there last year. There are a few cool areas like Natural Bridges, and Valley of the Gods, but when they make Bears Ears bigger than the Grand Canyon...ie bigger than Rhode Island, it is pretty much a huge land grab. For comparison, Canyonlands National park is 337,598 acres, but Bears Ears is 1,351,849 acres. Some have mentioned part of the park has been leased out as a gravel pit. It is just massive. Quoting from the act "the limits of which in all cases shall be confined to the smallest area compatible with the proper care and management of the objects to be protected."

    I don't think Trump should rescind the designation, but there is a strong argument for shrinking the monument. Compare it to similar minded monuments...Hoovenweep, Chaco Canyon, canyon de chelly, Walnut Canyon, Mesa Verde, Canyons of the Ancients. They could all be put in Bears Ears and they probably wouldn't fill half of it.

    The infux of tourist that will follow and the maps given will not protect the area. It is a quite place now, but the best area's will be over run.

  • Prometheus Platypus Orem, UT
    April 14, 2017 4:45 p.m.

    CB asked incorrectly: "did Pres. Obama even make an attempt to come and see what he was going to take away from the State of Utah?

    How do you take away that which Never Belonged to Utah?

    This is the ignorance that our leaders like Lee, and Hatch and Bishop continually Lie to the people of Utah about, I can't stand these liars representing our state, they dumb down the entire population every time they speak.

  • GaryO Virginia Beach, VA
    April 14, 2017 3:02 p.m.

    RE: "Therefore, it was a cause for celebration when news spread that Gov. Gary Herbert signed the resolution for our disenfranchised native people who were scared to enter the monument for wood gathering."

    Ha! What a bunch of Trump!

    It is big oil and mining interests who have a vested monetary interest in obliterating the monument designation for bears ears.

    And there have ALWAYS been native Americans willing to betray their people for a few shiny baubles.

    A good number of the so-called treaties signed by native "chiefs" were signed by frauds who did NOT represent their people.

    These Uncle Tom Toms should be ashamed of themselves, but the shameless never feel shame do they?

    Just ask our President.

  • FT salt lake city, UT
    April 14, 2017 2:21 p.m.

    Ryan, our elected, local, Republican officials failed us. They had over 3 years to get a bill thru a Republican congress and they could not. Nothing has changed with the land we all love but with the Monument designation it's now ensured our children and grandchildren will be able to have the same experiences as we have been blessed have. I encourage you to join with the other Indian tribes and work with the joint management plan that is in the works.

  • CB Salt Lake City, UT
    April 14, 2017 12:12 p.m.

    Let see, did Pres. Obama even make an attempt to come and see what he was going to take away from the State of Utah? Seems to me it was just another Democrat who took his revenge on a Republican State.
    As was said 'elections have consequences' and what has been done, can be undone, and hopefully for those who have care taken this area for hundreds of years, should be allowed to continue to do so.

  • The Real Maverick Spanish Fork, UT
    April 14, 2017 11:46 a.m.

    Sorry, but elections have consequences. President obama already declared this a national monument. It's time for Utah thugs to stop whining and get over it.