This letter is written by Devin Bayles Hancock, Native and Devoted Advocate of San Juan County:
San Juan County, Utah is undergoing a potential land grab from the Federal Government. 1.9 Million acres are at stake of becoming a National Monument. These mountain acres are of the most prime and beautiful land in the country. This land is used for hunting, for grazing, gathering wood, pinion nuts, recreation, as well as traditional spiritual practices. Plain and simple, this land is used for the uncorrupted livelihood of all…close and far!
A few weeks ago, a public meeting with US Interior Secretary Jewell in Bluff, Utah was held. The amount of people bussed in for this occasion was astronomical! Some didn’t speak English, some had no idea where this proposed Bears Ears National Monument was, some were offered college credit for attending, and some even said they were there for the ‘free t-shirt and lunch’. The ‘pro-monument’ busses, shirts, lunches and ‘free trip’ were all donated by a well-funded environmental coalition and a super star who has merely stepped foot in the county!
US Interior Secretary Jewell, heard the testimonies and was also ‘wined and dined’ by this rich lobby, advocating for the Bears Ears Monument. Locals had no chance. We were outnumbered 6-1!
The strange thing is that the Bear’s Ears is the smallest section of land that being named or held hostage by this land grab! The proposed monument would extend from the Southern end of San Juan County, by Mexican Hat, all the way up to the southernmost tip of Dead Horse Point, in North San Juan County, crossing the Colorado River in some locations! 1.9 Million acres!
There are approximately 5.2 million acres in San Juan County, making it the largest county in the State. Currently, the BLM manages about 2.1 million acres (41%), followed by the Navajo Nation who owns about 1.2 million acres (23%), and the National Park Service which currently manages 595,000 acres. The 1.9 million of acres that is in the current proposal also includes private properties that will cease to exist in future years! The Monument would mean ownership of 48% in San Juan County!
What does this mean? Well, we’ve seen first-hand what happened to our neighbors, when the Grand Staircase at Escalante National Monument was designated. People eventually moved! They no longer had their livelihood! They could no longer feed their families by hunting. They could no longer keep their homes warm by gathering wood. Grazing rights were basically cut in half, eventually dwindling to nothing. They no longer had a place to escape to for fun. The schools basically shut down because there simply were no children. The entire area FAILED!
Now you’re probably wondering what this means to you? Like it, or not, this WILL AFFECT YOU! Trails like the Chicken Corners, Lockhart Canyon, Colorado River Overlook, Elephant Hill and Beef Basin will be snatched up in the Federal land grab. These trails are all major landmarks for the world renowned Moab Jeep Safari. In addition, if this much acreage is stolen by the Federal Government, then what’s next, the LaSal’s? The Manti LaSal National Forest? Do you want the southern area of Moab looking like Mesa Verde National Park with almost 550,000 visitors, and no free and very limited access?
We need your help! Be civil, be smart, be educated, be active, be heard, BEGIN. Be something. Doing nothing does nothing.
Reposted by Reagangirl.com 7/31/16