My view: Bears Ears: False choice vs. real solution

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  • Laura Bilington Maple Valley, WA
    July 21, 2016 8:41 p.m.

    One of the "facts" being thrown around is that Monument designation will bring greatly increased numbers of tourists. Does anybody have any figures showing how much this has been with previous sites which get Monument designation?

  • JWB Kaysville, UT
    July 20, 2016 11:27 p.m.

    The State of Utah cannot manage it's own State lands and especially the enforcement and maintenance costs. The cronyism of the legislators in the GOP will erode the process. The John Swallow and Governor Herbert goal was to get all the Federal land review completed and even sue the Federal government for the land. There is or will not be enough water for development so the real estate and development legislators and governor won't get much profit or name recognition. Public land at the State level will not be an improvement. ATV trails will open up more erosion and potential travel to ancient ancestral sites that have not been unearthed. It is good the Secretary came to see the land and have public meetings.

    The federal government and bureaucracy have spelled out processes that do evolve. Hopefully, the Utah Representives will have an open and fair meeting with those of all local and native Americans who have an interest in their ancestral land and a desire to preserve it for our citizens.

    Fair and open meetings with integrity and honor should be the goernment's process.

  • kigalia ,
    July 20, 2016 11:00 p.m.

    UtahBlueDevil: It is true southern Utah rural communities are struggling for economic survival, but we don't want to turn into another Moab -- crowded and crazy where minimum wage earners can't afford rent, and businesses close down 4 months a year. If you want a cause to help the Native American population, bring jobs down to the reservation. Let them enjoy the lands of the Bears Ears without a ranger breathing down their neck, and red tape to fill out. They have had enough broken promises, and this National Monument does not bode well for them in the future.

  • kigalia ,
    July 20, 2016 10:52 p.m.

    Re: 2 Bits The Feds have already been managing the majority of this proposed land in San Juan County via the BLM. Is that why they only had 1 ranger out in this staggering expanse of wilderness? They talk the talk but don't have the money to supervise this, or other large National Parks for that matter. That's what happens when you have an $18.6 trillion dollar national debt. And you want more territory to manage? Estimates say it will require a minimum of 1000 rangers to patrol 1.9 million acres. What kind job have they been doing in other Parks, and large monuments? That's what you need find out before we as a nation take on more tax burdens.

  • UtahBlueDevil Lehi Ut & Durham, NC
    July 20, 2016 12:27 p.m.

    I just want to provide clarification to the comment by Watercolormom claims that "the fees to take those pictures go from $0 to at least $180 per session"... if the lands become a monument.

    Per the US government site... it very clearly stated

    "The NPS will not require a permit for photographers, commercial or non-commercial, to go anywhere or to do anything that members of the public are generally allowed to go or do without a permit."

    "Generally speaking with editorial and fine-art work, there is no need for a permit, because you'd be photographing only what is found in the park, and not using a crew. Even if your photos are going to be used as commercial stock, as long as they are taken in accordance with the quoted paragraph you don't need to apply for a special permit. "

    "The comments in this article generally apply to the lands administrated by the National Park Service (NPS). This includes National Parks, National Monuments, National Seashores and Lakeshores, and a few other designations."

    So her daughter in no way should be charged $180 to take her pictures, monument or not.

  • UtahBlueDevil Lehi Ut & Durham, NC
    July 20, 2016 12:06 p.m.

    "Matthew Anderson is policy analyst for the Coalition for Self-Government in the West, a project of the Salt Lake City-based Sutherland Institute."

    Enough said right there.

    The argument here is so convoluted. A monument status will bring harm to the land because it was increase access to hikers and tourist to these lands...?...? In a time when these communities are struggling for economic survival, Southerland says that we need to protect these lands from tourist to protect native American rights.

    Watercolormom.... I am sorry but if your daughter relies on using public lands for her business for free... that is just a really bad business model. Very few businesses get to rely on public lands for free to run their business on. Add to that per the government website, there is no fee to photograph at national parks or monuments. There is a fee to run a workshop - but that ranges from $50 - $100.

    The headline is correct..... the argument over the Monument designation and its impact is based on false narratives... and this Sutherland piece is just yet another of those false narratives. This is not as black and white as many paint it.

  • watercolormom Blanding, UT
    July 20, 2016 11:44 a.m.

    I have been trying to think of something that would feel similar to those who live in the city. So here goes my try at that...

    I used to live in Provo and have visited Provo/Orem area many times. While there, I have noticed that the pollution problem is huge. As well as the traffic. So I have already quietly gone to your city councils and proposed that there no longer be any vehicle traffic in these two cities. They agree!

    Now this is good for you. You all get more exercise. The pollution is down. I don't mind because I like to ride the local transit system. But truthfully, if I need to do some major shopping will go elsewhere.
    I really don't believe that this will hurt you. How will this change how you make a living? The stores will still be there. The schools will still be there. You have cleaner air.
    When you disagree and they have a meeting to meet with you about it. I bus in people at my own expense to say that it is a great
    plan. You just didn't know that you needed it. You're welcome.

  • watercolormom Blanding, UT
    July 20, 2016 11:07 a.m.

    Thank you Ernest Bass for asking.In this debate there only seems to be shouting how everyone knows best. But there is the rare person that really wants to sit down and learn the facts.

    My daughter runs a photo studio here. Most of her pictures are taken in the surrounding mountains/dessert. If this were to be turned into a national monument, the fees to take those pictures go from $0 to at least $180 per session. She is lucky to get that much from each client that she books.

    Although, we have been told that tourism will go up and therefore there is no problem. Most of those jobs are seasonal at best. All one has to do is take a look at Moab and Garfield County to get a sense of what this really means.

    If you will take a look at the Grand Staircase National Monument, they had to declare economic state of emergency last year. Their schools have decreased by more than half. Ranchers have been forced out of business. They call the winter months the starving months. I could go on and on.

  • Ernest T. Bass Bountiful, UT
    July 19, 2016 3:47 p.m.

    @watercolormom: How would a monument take away your livelihoods? Serious question, I haven't heard what jobs it would take away.

  • Happy Valley Heretic Orem, UT
    July 19, 2016 3:28 p.m.

    Simone Griffin and watercolor, nope not missed at all. Proximity is not ownership, nor does Not give you more rights than other American's You DO not own the land.

    I would hope that other locals had as much respect as you say you do, and I have met many good people in the small towns, (and some gun toten' complete lunatics) but love the small town idea, and have lived in a few of them.

    That being said, I trust our politicians at the capital like Mike Noel etc.. to steal it out from under you in a New York second, if they thought they could profit from it's destruction. They have shown this time and again.

  • wasatchcascade ,
    July 19, 2016 2:43 p.m.

    There are many different locales and quadrants of the proposed Bears Ears area. Cedar Mesa for example, S of Natural Bridges, has a paved road down the "middle" and dirt spur roads that head to canyon access points. These have been in existence for decades and have been popular to the public for years. Doubtful that visitation in some of these areas is going to increase that much. Other more remote sections have dirt roads leading into the areas. Unless for some reason they are paved, it's doubtful that visitation is going to increase much more than incrementally. Front range zones may see more people; middle and backcountry wilderness area, probably will not.
    The voices and views in this piece - represent a small section of the Native Americans; otherwise, most Indian groups have supported the Monument cause feeling the Feds will provide much more protection than that that has existed for the past 100 years.

  • watercolormom Blanding, UT
    July 19, 2016 2:35 p.m.

    Prometheus Platypus are you saying that more people will create less problems? Really?

    I am really sorry that you miss the whole point of this. Apparently, you think this is about me and the solitude of this area. While that is really nice. (We live here because we love the land. That is kind of the same.) We are most concerned about the land that we love and how it is cared for. Have there been some cases where there has been people not taking care of the land. Yes. This monument will not stop that. Those cases have come from everywhere. Just because someone did something they shouldn't does not make everyone bad.

    I have not decided that because you live in Orem, UT and there was a murder there that you are a murderer. And I don't mind if you disagree with me. But I would like it if you would look a little more into this subject. All I keep hearing is protect the bears ears. But all I see is eventual ruin for the bears ears.

    I love this land and live here. Why in the world would I ruin it?

  • The Real Maverick Spanish Fork, UT
    July 19, 2016 2:14 p.m.

    @ 2 bits

    I think the evidence speaks for itself. The Feds clearly manage lands better than locals. If Utah cannot manage the lands it currently owns why should it be given even more?

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    July 19, 2016 2:09 p.m.

    @GaryO Virginia Beach, VA
    RE: "90% of Utah should consist of National Monuments.
    I am tired of our land in Utah being exploited and ruined by the mean, greedy, and careless Religious extremists who run that state"...

    Uumm... where do I start.

    #1. Why is somebody in Virginia Beach VA tired of what we are doing in Utah?

    #2. What does religion have to do with it?

    #3. If you want 90% of a State you don't live in to be National Monuments... Why not 100% of the State? Why not make Utah 100% a National Monument (if you're going to make 90% of the State a National Monument)?

    #4. If you want 90% of Utah to be National Monuments... would you support making 90% of Virginia a National Monument? And if not... why not? Is Virginia not as cool and worth preserving as Utah?

    #5. If you make 90% of Utah a National Monument... where do you put the people? Where are the people of Utah allowed to live and build homes for the next generation?

    Turning 90% of any State into a National Monument is just ridiculous.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    July 19, 2016 1:53 p.m.

    RE: Using algae in Utah lake as a reason for this monument...

    Are you seriously assuming if Utah Lake were a national monument... Algae wouldn't grow there?
    Or that the Federal Government could stop algae from growing there?
    Or that the somebody in Washington would have noticed the algae growing before the locals living around the lake??

    Parts of Lake Powell have been closed for algae blooms some years... it's a National Park. So much for that silly assumption.

    Your logic is ridiculous.


    RE: "Let's erect this monument today"...
    because there's algae in Utah Lake? Ridiculous!

    I think Utah responded to the algae bloom as soon as they could (as soon as it appeared). Kinda hard to react before it even appears isn't it? Even for Federal authorities...

    There are algae blooms in different areas of the ocean every year. Is that Utah's fault too?

    There are algae blooms in various lakes every year. Is that Utah's fault?

    Does Federal Government prevent all algae blooms on their land? No.

    Algae in an algae prone lake in Utah County... is a bogus reason for a national monument in Wayne county.

  • The Real Maverick Spanish Fork, UT
    July 19, 2016 1:08 p.m.

    @ 2 bits

    Call me crazy but isn't the shutting down of Utah lake, Jordan River, and all of its canals a red flag? Isn't that scary? Who is in charge of those waterways?

    I think local control has completely and utterly failed.

    For how long will these water sources be toxic? 1 month? 1 year? 10 years?

    I just feel that if local control really wants to gain support then maybe it should actually prove to the rest of us that it can maintain the lands that it currently has stewardship over. I don't think the lord would reward a child for bad behavior. Why should the Feds award Utah anything?

    Let's erect this monument today.

  • GaryO Virginia Beach, VA
    July 19, 2016 12:59 p.m.

    90% of Utah should consist of National Monuments.

    I am tired of our land in Utah being exploited and ruined by the mean, greedy, and careless Religious extremists who run that state.

  • Simone Griffin Escalante, UT
    July 19, 2016 12:21 p.m.

    Prometheus Platypus You're missing a huge point here... vandalism happens everywhere whether it is a monument or not. Vandalism happens in the Grand Staircase all the time. Just because it is a monument doesn't mean it will stop illegal activities. There is already more protection in this area because of the problems you referred to and they have decreased greatly. Also, I think you don't have all the best information when it comes to grave robbing and looting. It sounds like you are getting information from the media on this. The last big piece you are missing is that you are from OREM and like you said you VISIT! You are not a local and don't understand what this will do to the local economy.

  • Irony Guy Bountiful, Utah
    July 19, 2016 11:47 a.m.

    Sutherland Institute again?

    95% of their funding comes from the "Donors' Trust," the "anonymous" source which experts call "the dark money ATM of the right wing."

    The institution behind this article has no interest whatever in the Navajos. Their appeal to the interests of the Navajos is naked cynicism. The real interest of Sutherland is to ensure that their donors, which are undoubtedly oil, gas and mining interests, get as much as they can grab in southeastern Utah.

  • Prometheus Platypus Orem, UT
    July 19, 2016 11:23 a.m.

    2 bits said: "What do people living in Bluff, Blanding, Montecello and White Mesa, Mexican Hat, or that county in general, know about this land? We in SLC and especially folks in Washington DC need to be managing it for them!"

    Yes we've seen what they do, loot and sell antiquities, ride over protected sites, and justify this bad behavior and then call the authorities that are trying to prevent it "Bullies" Yep salt of the earth.

    Watercolormom, While I appreciate that you enjoy the solitude it will still remain for a long time, but with more people then there will be less opportunity for grave robbers and ATV rallies.

    ....and yes I've been, i love the outdoors and have tried to visit as many corners of the state as possible, so far the only time I get turned back is by private property signs, or mining gates.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    July 19, 2016 10:18 a.m.

    @Lew Jeppson,
    RE: Your lecture going back to Europeans pushing Native Americans out, and Native American cultures worthy of preservation...

    Of course Native Americans have culture worthy of preservation. Don't assume if you don't want Obama's monument you don't want preservation. I want these treasures preserved. Don't need a 2 million acre monument to preserve them.

    Not wanting people in Washington in charge of the land instead of local populations... does NOT mean you don't want the treasures of the area preserved.

    How long have the rock art and archaeological treasures been there... and they are still there... So why assume if we don't get the monument in the next 6 months they will be gone?

    That's bogus hype.


    RE: "As far as I'm concerned anything coming out of Sutherland is presumptively false"...
    Do you like being "prejudiced"?

    Your statement is the very definition of "Prejudice" (look it up).

    Assuming whatever they say is false without even needing to look at it... is the very definition of "Prejudice" and "closed-mindedness".

    Research. Don't reflexively assume. Investigate their statements. Don't trust "presumptive" judgement.

    No group is always wrong on everything. Even Democrats.

  • Simone Griffin Escalante, UT
    July 19, 2016 9:45 a.m.

    Liberal Larry. You're right all U.S. land does belong to all Americans, so go use the Bears Ears. No one is stopping you right now. Then once you are familiar with the area, post your opinion.

  • watercolormom Blanding, UT
    July 19, 2016 9:43 a.m.

    It seems like to me, that most of you who are commenting have no idea what is going on. This land is national forest. All we are asking is that it is not designated a national monument. A national monument would bring more people to this land. We keep being told that it is good because we will gain more tourists. All we see with tourists, is more pillaging of the land.

    This was proven when so many people from all over the country (they were bussed in and paid for their presence) showed up to let Sally Jewel know that they know what is best for this area and it's residents. They left trash and cigarette butts everywhere. They stomped through the woods so they could see the place that they came to "protect".

    I was told by one couple that it does not matter that we may lose our lively hoods and that it would hurt the economy here. They just shouted at me and my children to move to SLC then. Unbelievable.

  • Lew Elton Jeppson Salt Lake City, UT
    July 19, 2016 9:03 a.m.

    "The Sutherland institute is in the bag for as little protection as possible, and the State taking over and selling our public lands heritage."

    And who doesn't know this? Let's take a broad view of the situation. Before the arrival of Europeans North America was occupied by a wide variety of civilizations. Europeans encroached on these civilizations, doing their best to destroy them and trash their sacred places. Now, of course, the first line Europeans are being encroached upon through immigration. Doesn't feel so good does it?

    Native Americans have cultures worthy of preservation. Contrary to myth these are not degenerate. Whatever arrangement is adopted, it is necessary that sacred sites be protected. They may not be because the Sutherland Institute in league with their Republicans allies has starved the parks service, forest service, the BLM, and wildlife services.

    As far as I'm concerned anything coming out of Sutherland is presumptively false.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    July 19, 2016 8:58 a.m.

    Bears Ears decision has little impact on the people posting on this topic. When was the last time you set foot on that land? Besides visiting the already declared smaller National Monuments there?

    Bears Ears decision has more impact on locals that live there.... Who every day set foot on that land. Indian and non-indian folks who live in that area and recreate in that area all their life, not folks from SLC or Washington DC who may visit once or twice in their lifetime if ever at all.

    People from SLC and Washington lecturing them... or taking control of their land away from them... just seems wrong. I'm sure it SEEMS like the right thing to do... to somebody from SLC.

    Heck, those hicks don't know anything about anything, why are we letting them control the land the live on and around. We surely know better than them how to manage it!

    What do people living in Bluff, Blanding, Montecello and White Mesa, Mexican Hat, or that county in general, know about this land? We in SLC and especially folks in Washington DC need to be managing it for them!

  • stevo123 slc, ut
    July 19, 2016 8:28 a.m.

    The Sutherland institute is in the bag for as little protection as possible, and the State taking over and selling our public lands heritage.

  • liberal larry salt lake City, utah
    July 19, 2016 6:02 a.m.

    Local control of environmentally, and archeologically sensitive, lands has never worked! The National Park system was a response to the excesses of local citizens, and economic special interests.

    Federal lands belong to all Americans and should be owned and controlled by the federal government!