Ideas. Stories. Community.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Crow Canyon, Rob Bishop, and Jason Chaffetz Weigh in on Bears Ears Monument

Creative Commons

The Crow Canyon Archaeological Center has joined the voices calling for President Obama to proclaim a Bears Ears National Monument before he leaves office.

In a letter Wednesday, the Cortez-area center called the Bears Ears area in southeastern Utah “one of the most significant cultural landscapes in the United States”. The letter says “inadequate legal protections and insufficient funding” are allowing “degradation and destruction of the resources through looting, mismanaged recreation, and inappropriate energy development.” The letter says a monument designation coupled with adequate funding would provide enhanced protections. It was signed by 14 other archaeological and historic-preservation groups.

Meanwhile, two Utah congressmen who oppose a national-monument designation want a Native American coalition that is backing the designation to suggest language for a legislative alternative. Representatives Rob Bishop and Jason Chaffetz are pushing the proposed Utah Public Lands Initiative Act as a better option than presidential action. According to a release, Bishop and Chaffetz asked the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition for draft language on how the tribes could “co-manage” the Bears Ears area under the PLI package, which would make Bears Ears a national conservation area. Bishop and Chaffetz complain that the inter-tribal coalition has refused to provide such language. In a statement, Bishop says legislators would give the tribes the co-management they want, and asks, “Why can’t they just say yes?”

Gail Binkly is a career journalist who has worked for the Colorado Springs Gazette and Cortez Journal. She is currently a freelance writer as well as the editor of the Four Corners Free Press, based in Cortez.
Related Content