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KSJD Hears Locals' Thoughts on New Bears Ears National Monument

Gail Binkly

It has been approximately 2 months since the designation of the Bears Ears National Monument in Southeastern Utah. However, the new monument remains a topic of disagreement at the state, national, and local level. KSJD News went to southeastern Utah to talk with locals on both sides.



Jonah Yellowman (above) lives a few miles southeast of Mexican Hat, near the new monument. He’s the spiritual advisor to the environmental group Utah Dineh Bikeyah. He navigated KSJD's Austin Cope and Gail Binkly up a 3-mile stretch of steep gravel road with hairpin turns, called the Moki Dugway. It’s now part of the very southern end of the monument. Apart from a couple passing cars on the road, the place was silent. Click below to listen to Austin's interview with Mr. Yellowman.

After talking with Yellowman, Austin and Gail drove an hour north to the town of Blanding to meet Janet Wilcox and Wendy Black (below), who are opposed to the monument.


Credit Gail Binkly

Ms. Black led them partway up Salvation Knoll. It was also silent, apart from a few passing cars.

Credit Austin Cope / KSJD

Austin talked with her about the new monument. Click below to listen.

Interview with Wendy Black

For more on the Bears Ears Monument discussion, click the "related links" below.

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.
Austin Cope is a former Morning Edition host for KSJD and now produces work on a freelance basis for the station. He grew up in Cortez and hosted a show on KSJD when he was 10 years old. After graduating from Montezuma-Cortez High School in 2010, he lived in Belgium, Ohio, Spain, northern Wyoming, and Himachal Pradesh, India before returning to the Cortez area. He has a degree in Politics from Oberlin College in Ohio.
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