While the future of the Bears Ears and Grand-Staircase National Monuments are currently up in the air, our focus on immediate impacts on the ground in this area continues.
The Bears Ears National Monument, largely known as America’s most archeologically rich monument, is home to more than 100,000 historic archaeological sites and counting. It is a jaw-droppingly beautiful landscape and fragile desert environment that is sacred to many indigenous communities in the Four Corners region.
Created in 2016, Bears Ears is a young monument, and hasn't seen the benefits of time or resources supporting the increased number of visitors. It was, and still is vulnerable and in need of special care.
Back in December 2017 when the executive order attempting to reduce the Bears Ears National Monument was issued, we took two important steps.
1. We worked to address the immediate needs around increased visitation resulting from the proposed changes and donated to the Friends of Cedar Mesa, for their project to create a “Visit with Respect” Education Center.
2. We recognized the progress the Bears Ears Inter-tribal Coalition had in the creation of the monument and the need for ongoing advocacy work. We created Protect Bears Ears products and committed all the profits from those sales to support the coalition in advocating for their cultural interests and ongoing land management planning.
Nine months later, on Sept. 21st, we were back in Bears Ears and excited to help celebrate the opening of the Bears Ears Education Center, a community-powered center created by our partners at Friends of Cedar Mesa. We were happy to celebrate the center, a grassroots project dedicated to helping visitors appreciate the monument with respect, along with more than 3,000 individuals and outdoor industry partners who participated in the crowd-funding campaign last year.
Earlier this summer, we sent Renan Ozturk an athlete and Bears Ears supporter to attend the summer gathering of the Bears Ears Inter-tribal Coalition to help share their story of healing and words of unity among the tribes. You can check out his story here. We continue to send the profits from our Protect Bears Ears products to the Bears Ears Inter-tribal Coalition for its advocacy efforts.
We’re fans of these places for the unmatched beauty and the legacy that comes from protecting them. While they are currently suffering from political back and forth, we will continue to support activities that protect and celebrate public lands for education, recreation and conservation purposes.