Big money and myths behind Bears Ears land grab push

August 23, 2016

6 Myths about the proposed Bears Ears National Monument

As published by Save Bears Ears


Truth or Consequences?

Myth #1:

The proposed national monument would protect the Bears Ears.

False! National Monuments and National Parks report increased vandalism and looting.

The Real Truth:

  • 25 cases in San Juan County or Bears Ears in 5 years (2011-2016) vs.
  • 1400 cases last YEAR (2015)  in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.
  • “BetweeHouse on Fire Ruins | Bears Ears Vandalism - bears ears national monument #NOmonumentn October 2011 and April 2016, the BLM’s field office in Monticello said it investigated 25 cases of looting, vandalism and disturbance of human remains in San Juan County.” (The Cortez Journal.)
  • In 2015, ” rangers found, cleaned up and investigated 1,400 cases of vandalism” in the Grand Staircase Escalante Monument.( Grand Staircase shares a border with Bears Ears proposed monument.

Click here to see a video about the ‘vandalism’ in the Bears Ears


Myth #2

Tourism will be good for the local economy around Bears Ears.

False! The designation of 1.9 million acres of forest lands to a National Monument will severely change the economic outlook for San Juan County Residents.

The Real Truth: donate-now

  • Seasonal Tourism–This means that real income would only be coming in to the county for half of the year if we are lucky. This area has severe winters that would preclude tourists from visiting during the winter months. The “Bears Ears” is  inaccessible for all of those winter months. Grand Staircase Escalante had to declare an economic emergency last year (2015).  They refer to the winter months as the “starving” months”.  This article from the UNEP (United Nation Environment Programne) has some great additional info on this.
  • Water Resources–This is a small community of people. They have admittedly carved out a place for themselves to live. Because of that, they have carefully planned for the collecting of water to sustain themselves, their farms, and their animals. This water is collected and stored from the mountains that are being fought over. There really is not enough water to support an influx of tourists that would come to visit the “Bears Ears National Monument”.  Are you aware that it is estimated that each person uses 80 – 100 gallons of water per day?
  • Economic Dependence on tourism–A healthy economy is a diverse economy. Tourism being the only economy that the residents depend on creates a week economy. Creating an environment where tourism is the main economic driving force gives the local community too few options. “Diversification in an economy is a sign of health, however if a country or region becomes dependent for its economic survival upon one industry, it can put major stress upon this industry as well as the people involved to perform well.”  UNEP (United Nation Environment Programne)
  • Devastating Effects–Ranchers, Farmers, Miners, Teachers, Business Owners, and Hunting Guides will all feel the devastating affects of a national monument designation. I am sure that the rancher who has spent his entire professional life on the proposed monument taking care of the land will love to find a job selling t-shirts 6 months of the year.

Click here to meet the families of Bears Ears that will be deeply affected by this.

Here is another article that explains “Why little western towns do not want to become another Moab.”


Myth #3:

All promises made in the Bears Ears Monument Proposal will be kept.

False!  The phrasing “…consistent with the purposes of the monument, to the maximum extent permitted by law” allows for unfettered alterations to current promises made to tribes and locals.

The Real Truth:

myths, bears ears myths
All promises made in the designation of a National Monument are only true so long as they do not ever interfere with the purpose the National Parks Service: “…to promote and regulate the use of the… national parks…which purpose is to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.” National Park Service Organic Act, 16 U.S.C.1. (

Some of those promises include:Bears ears myths

  • Wood Gathering–Check out how this promise was kept in the Grand Staircase-Escalante.
  • Pine Nut Gathering
  • Goji Berry Gathering
  • Herb Gathering
  • Holding Traditional Ceremonies
  • More money to ‘protect’ the land. –Find out how this is working in National Monuments and Parks across the U.S.

Pages 26, 27, & 29 of the proposal talk about how the decisions will be made if the federal government does not agree,

“by definition, the Federal agency will have approved these decisions. But, if the collaborators cannot agree, the dispute will go to mediation. If all that fails, then the Secretary of Interior or Agriculture makes the final decision.”

Myth #4:

A National Monument would keep the Bears Ears from being developed!

Misleading and False!! The Manti-LaSal Mountain range (otherwise known as the Bears Ears), because of its designation as a national forest is already under federal government protection.

truth or consequencesThe Real Truth:

No one is developing this mountain range. Although, there have been various rumors concerning development from the opposition, there are no plans nor will there ever be plans to build condos on this mountain range. (It is already protected!)   This land cannot be sold to the highest bidder.

 Myth #5:

There is broad state and local support for a monument.

FALSE! Read the Navajo county commissioner Rebecca Benally’s words on this. Meet the community of Native Americans and locals who oppose a national monument designation for Bears Ears.rebecca

The Retrue or falseal Truth:

Yes, blind surveys indicate that the majority of people in Utah support a monument designation. These people often don’t know much about the real possible consequences of the area becoming a monument. The pro-monument movement has spent a great deal of money on a campaign to convince the masses to support a monument, with very little truth or no truth behind the push.
You know those 600 registered voters (which is just .02% of Utah’s population) that Pew Charitable Trusts polled to show 55% of Utahns support the monument? This map shows where they were all from. The counties in blue were not, I repeat NOT, surveyed. (Hint: San Juan County is in the lower right hand corner.) There were also ZERO Native Americans in Utah were polled. Ouch!
Bears Ears Myths

Myth #6:

Those who oppose the monument are funded by Corporate America and Big Oil.

FALSE! FALSE! FLeonardo-DiCaprioALSE! Take a look at the amount of donations the organizations pushing for a monument designation have received!


The proponents of a monument designation are a grassroots movement trying to save the land from being exploited. Many community members were aware that our area was being considered for a monument designation, but we knew the public lands were already well managed. We didn’t believe there was truly any rationale for supporting a monument. In many ways, we have preferred to keep the spotlight off our area, hoping this would keep it protected.

The difference in funding is staggering  $20,000,000.00 (radicalized environmentalists)  vs $1,870.00 (grassroots movement).


San Juan County, Bears Ears Myths

So, I ask you what you think of the Bears Ears National Monument now? Were you lied to by special interests groups just like we were?

Reposted by  8/23/16

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