Still eagerly awaiting the Bears Ears recommendation
Sep 19, 2017 | 1312 views | 0 0 comments | 755 755 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Despite a wave of leaks and guesses, and allegations and denials, the U.S. government has not announced the next step in the Bears Ears National Monument.

While Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke has recommended that Bears Ears National Monument be decreased in size, no maps have been released as of the press deadline on September 19.

In 2016, supporters of the Bears Ears were seeking a 1.9 million acre monument. The actual monument created by President Barack Obama is 1.35 million acres.

State and county officials report that they have looked at maps and made recommendations, but they are unaware of what the final map will look like. Several recommendations are to take as much as one million acres of federal land out of the monument.

Questions regarding acreage issues include whether or not the reduced monument will include federal lands with existing enhanced designations, such as Wilderness, Wilderness Study Areas, Recreation Areas or Primitive Areas.

If these lands are not included, Cedar Mesa will possibly be outside the reduced monument.

It is anticipated that the new monument designation will clarify the input of Native American groups in management of the new monument.

The initial designation gave these groups an advisory role and not the co-management role that many had sought.

Tribal and environmental groups sought the designation, while every elected official with responsibility for the land has opposed it.

It appears as if tribal and environmental groups are set to file a legal challenge to any reduction in the acreage of the national monument. It is possible that the legal challenges will delay the implementation of any plan for the forseeable future.

While the fate of Bears Ears National Monument has yet to be resolved, visitors have been traveling throughout the area.

The on-the-ground impact of visitation is felt while there is still no budget, no infrastructure and not even a monument manager for the high-profile monument.

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