On December 5th, 2017, President Trump announced his plans to reduce Bears Ears and Grand Staircase Escalante National Monuments by 85 and 50 percent respectively, both of which we biked through on our trip. His move is a reversal of protections put in place by Democratic predecessors, and comes as the administration pushes for fewer restrictions and more development on public lands.
We were deeply disheartened to hear this news. Trump’s actions are a ruthless attack on US public lands and the natural environment, an insult to Native Americans (whom he never met with during discussions regarding the Monuments), and a clear message to the majority of Americans who want to see public lands preserved that he cares more about the rights of private, special interest groups than he does about the rights of US citizens. Ultimately, the legality of the President’s decision under the Antiquities Act will be decided in the courts, so we will have to wait and see how it all turns out.
We are very grateful to those who are prepared to take up legal action against the reductions of these Monuments, including the Grand Staircase Escalante Partners, and the native groups speaking out against and fighting these injustices in the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition.
We are also grateful for the Friends of Cedar Mesa, an organization based in Bluff, Utah, whom we met with.
Visitation to the Bear Ears National Monument area has been growing significantly over the last decade, increasing exponentially with the recent controversy – all without corresponding government resources for visitor education. Folks don’t always know where to visit, or how to visit respectfully–there isn’t much in the way of signage or trail markings in the Monument, since it’s so new. (On our ride, we didn’t even know we were in Bears Ears until we asked someone, who told us we were right in the middle of it!)
To combat this and better support visitors to the area, FCM is stepping up to create the Bears Ears Visit with Respect Education Center. It’s an audacious effort that will require them to raise $840,000 in the next six months. They’ve already raised over $500,000. So they’re more than halfway to their goal!
To help them out, we donated the rest of our trip funds to FCM to help fund the Center. We hope you’ll help them out as well–your dollars will help to better protect this incredible, historically and culturally significant landscape!
Also check out these other organizations we support and met with during our ride!
The Campaign to Save The Boundary Waters is leading the efforts to protect the Boundary Waters Wilderness, a 1.1 million acre world-class canoeing destination, from proposed sulfide-ore copper mining. As born and raised Minnesotans who grew up canoeing and camping in this wilderness area, the WOWFWL team members care deeply about preserving and protecting the BWCA. Learn more at http://www.savetheboundarywaters.org.
The mission of Sierra Forest Legacy is to engage citizens, communities, and coalition members in the healthy management of Sierra Nevada forest ecosystems to protect and restore the region’s unparalleled beauty and natural values. After meeting with Jamie from SLF in the Caples Creek Wilderness Area to learn about their work and experiencing the Sierra Nevada’s splendor first hand, WOWFWL stands with the Sierra Forest Legacy in protecting and preserving the area. Learn more at http://www.sierraforestlegacy.org.
The mission of The Trust For Public Land is to create parks and protect land for people, ensuring healthy, livable communities for generations to come. From helping raise funds for conservation; to protecting and restoring natural spaces; to collaborating with communities to plan, design, and create parks, playgrounds, gardens, and trails; TPL works with communities to ensure that development happens for them, and not to them. WOWFWL is very excited to have met with the fine folks at TPL in San Francisco to learn more about their work. http://www.tpl.org.
As the official nonprofit partner of Zion National Park, Zion National Park Forever Project’s work is hitched to the horse of perpetuity, a Project which requires attention across generations. And that our efforts today ensure the park’s tomorrow. The Forever Project inherently understands the park does not take care of itself – that in order to prosper and to remain a sanctuary, it must have a community of supporters reflecting all walks of life, experience and circumstance who care deeply for its future. Zion Forever invites you to make a difference with them, now and forever. Learn more at http://www.zionpark.org.
As the official “friends” group for the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument, Grand Staircase Escalante Partners is committed to preserving and protecting the vast landscape of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. They are leading the fight against the current presidential administration’s attempt to shrink the GSENM. Learn more at http://www.gsenm.org.
In July of 2015, leaders from five Tribes founded the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition, representing a historic consortium of sovereign tribal nations united in the effort to conserve the Bears Ears cultural landscape. The five nations are committed to working together. A total of 30 Tribes have expressed support for protecting the Bear Ears region for future generations of Americans. The Coalition is helping to fight the current administration’s attempt to shrink the Bears Ears National Monument. Learn more at http://www.bearsearscoalition.org.
The mission of the Grand Canyon Trust is to protect and restore the Colorado Plateau — its spectacular landscapes, flowing rivers, clean air, diversity of plants and animals, and areas of beauty and solitude. We were very excited to have met with them in Flagstaff, AZ, and learn about their work in protecting the Grand Canyon from uranium mining. Learn more at http://www.grandcanyontrust.org.