Bears Ears Buttes, the United States newest national monument, needs your support. Here’s what’s going on –
Back in December, President Obama, in support of activism from environmental groups and Native American tribes, designated the Bears Ears area of Southeastern Utah a national monument. Sounds great, right? Setting aside more land for preservation and recreation? Not everybody thought so.
In fact, the designation was against the wishes of the State’s governor and congressional delegation. For most, its not a question of protecting the area, but the conflicted parties could not agree on what kind of protection, how much to protect, or when it should happen. Though, some state Republicans wanted to see surrounding acreage developed for commercial use and/or natural-gas extraction.
Why is Bears Ears important?
The Bears Ears Buttes are quite literally a museum. The areas contains more than 100,000 cultural and archaeological sites, making it the most significant unprotected archaeological area in the United States.
“This beautiful piece of land stretches for over a million acres of land across the southern edge of the state. Its ancient cliff dwellings, ceremonial sites, abundant rock art, countless cultural artifacts, winding creek beds, and expanses of desert land, contain the great history of my nation.” – Russel Begaye, President of the Navajo Nation
Patagonia founder, Yvon Chouinard, wrote a plea not necessarily directly to Utah’s Governor Gary Herbert, but certainly at him, in his post titled “The Outdoor Industry Loves Utah; Does Utah Love the Outdoor Industry?” For now, his words seem to have fallen on deaf ears.
“I say enough is enough. If Governor Herbert doesn’t need us, we can find a more welcoming home. Governor Herbert should direct his Attorney General to halt their plans to sue and support the historic Bears Ears National Monument. He should stop his efforts to transfer public lands to the state, which would spell disaster for Utah’s economy. He should show the outdoor industry he wants our business—and that he supports thousands of his constituents of all political persuasions who work in jobs supported by recreation on public lands.” – Yvon Chouinard, Patagonia
Patagonia did follow through on its promise, with CEO and President Rose Marcario announcing their exodus from the Outdoor Retailer show based on the current legislative actions. Peak Design, Polartec, Arc’teryx, and other top outdoor brands joined in pulling out of the bi-annual industry flagship conference, scheduled for this July in Salt Lake City.
Taking actions a few steps further, Patagonia has launched a full on grassroots assault in defense of Bears Ears, using not only their brand platform, but creative technology to tell the story of the newest National Monument. The brand is using 360-degree video to create a 10-part immersive series of stories diving deep into the cultural and recreational significance of Bears Ears. The films were originally produced as a celebratory series following the new National Monument designation but have since been repurposed for the fight.
How can you join in the defense of public lands?
What can you do specifically to protect Bears Ears Buttes as a designated National Monument? Visit patagonia.com/bearsears to learn the ways in which you can get involved.