The Bureau of Land Management released its finalized Bears Ears National Monument management plan on Feb. 6, despite the fact that the courts still haven’t ruled on whether the current boundaries are legal or not.
I’ll be taking a closer look at the details of the plan in coming days, but the details are somewhat irrelevant because they apply only to the drastically reduced monument, not the surrounding landscape that was taken out of monument status by Trump.
I’ve written a few pieces over the years about the battle over Bears Ears, and it occurred to me that it would be nice to have them all in one place. So here you go, in chronological order, starting back in 2010. Read at your leisure. Some may be behind the High Country News paywall. If so, sign up for a free trial for access! Or contact me via this website and I’ll send you a copy.
Also, stay tuned for my forthcoming novel, Behind the Slickrock Curtain, which largely takes place within the original Bears Ears boundaries. Also, I’m currently writing a non-fiction book for Torrey House Press on Bears Ears, Sagebrush Rebels, and the history, ecology, politics, and culture of San Juan County, Utah.
The Trouble with Monuments: An internally conflicted rant from 2010.
Efforts to Save Utah’s Cedar Mesa Reach a Crescendo: Reflections from summer of 2015 — a few months before the debate really blew up — on the area’s part in my own creation myth and efforts to save it.
The fight for a Bears Ears National Monument heats up: From the spring of 2016, a longer look at the tribal coalition’s efforts to establish a 1.9 million acre monument.
Emotions run high over Bears Ears: My take on the Bluff public hearing from July 2016.
The Bears Ears and the Local Card: An August 2016 essay on a recurring theme of mine, namely that “local” isn’t defined by state or county lines, especially when it comes to public lands.
The Bid for Bears Ears: My longread High Country News cover story that delves into the debate, and into the deep connections the Pueblo, Navajo, and Ute people have with the landscape in the Four Corners region.
Comb Ridge Parcel Privatized: A look at the purchase of an iconic slice of Comb Ridge.
Bears Ears is a go — here’s where the line was drawn: Though the national monument is big, it’s still a compromise, with bones thrown to local opposition. From Dec. 2016
Was the Bears Ears designation a victory? From January 2017, more analysis of the compromises made in the designation — and the possibility that the monument could be reduced or revoked.
Fact-checking Hatch and Trump on Antiquities Act order: From April 2017, as Trump launched his monument “review.” Spoiler: Hatch and Trump lied.
Can Zinke shrink Bears Ears: From June 2017.
National monuments protect meaning, not just landscapes: A response to claims that existing federal regulations are adequate to protect cultural resources from oil and gas drilling and other development.
Resistance to drilling grows on Navajo Nation: This is about oil and gas development in the Greater Chaco Region, not Bears Ears per se. But there are Chacoan Great Houses within the Bears Ears region, and the issues regarding development on public land are similar.
At Bears Ears, Trump and Zinke ignored everyone but industry: In which I ponder the way the Trump administration redrew the Bears Ears boundaries.
The inundation of Utah’s Mighty Five. Dataviz on skyrocketing visitation to national parks.