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    The Time is Now – Protect Bears Ears [Updated]

    By Kitty Calhoun

    Burr_cedar_mesa

    In southeastern Utah, a battle has been brewing between conservationists, recreationalists and resource extractionists. The pressure on all sides has increased as the stakes grow higher. At risk is the preservation of climbing in Indian Creek, Valley of the Gods, Texas and Arch Canyons, Lockhart Basin, Comb Ridge, and other remote areas collectively known as the Bears Ears region. Not only is climbing at risk but also other recreational resources, the fragile desert environment and priceless Native American heritage.

    Above: Valley of the Gods, Cedar Mesa, Utah. Photo: Andrew Burr

    There are two initiatives under consideration in the legislature right now. One is the Public Lands Initiative (PLI) which, as explained by the American Alpine Club, seeks to “manage state and federal lands in Southeast Utah. It threatens designated Wilderness, supports the transfer of federal lands to the state, and for the majority of the lands in question, it prioritizes resource extraction over both recreation and conservation.”

    The preferred alternative to PLI is the Bears Ears National Monument. Proposed by an inter-tribal coalition, its goal is to set aside 1.9 million acres including Indian Creek, Valley of the Gods and Comb Ridge as well as 100,000+ archaeological sites, many of which are sacred or critical to Native American cultures.

    There are less than 300 days left before President Obama leaves office and he will not designate a Bears Ears National Monument unless it has overwhelming support. He needs to know that, just as each of us has unique and inherent gifts, so does the land. Development and resource extraction has its place, but not here. Democracy has power, but only if you raise your voice.

     

     

    Take_action_largeTAKE ACTION!

    Help protect Bears Ears in southeastern Utah. Ask President Obama to use his authority under the Antiquities Act to create the Bears Ears National Monument.

    Sign the petition

     

    Update 5/23/16: To learn more and see what's at stake, please watch Defined By the Line, a short film by Fitz Cahall and Patagonia. Social media activists can share the video, photos and a link to the petition using the #ProtectBearsEars hashtag on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Thank you for making your voices heard!

     


    Watch Defined By the Line. Video: Fitz Cahall/Patagonia 

     

     

     

    Kc_1

    Kitty Calhoun is a Patagonia ambassadorChicks Climbing guide and resident of Castle Valley, Utah. She first roped up in South Carolina at 18. She started ice climbing a year later, which led to winter ascents in the Rockies where her passion for alpine climbing began. While guiding for the American Alpine Institute, she climbed dozens of peaks in Peru, Bolivia, Alaska, Argentina, and Nepal. In recognition of her accomplishments, she received the American Alpine Club’s Underhill Award in 1991.

    For more from Kitty, check out her previous stories on The Cleanest Line and her TEDxTalk at Moses Brown School in Providence, Rhode Island.

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