Traditional & Recreational Uses


Recreation

The Bears Ears region isn’t just celebrated for its cultural resources — it also has a wealth of recreational opportunities and a history of traditional land uses. When protecting Bears Ears, we will also protect the access Americans love to great hiking, backpacking, mountain biking, river running, climbing and responsible off-road vehicle use. Activities like backpacking into archaeological sites, mountain biking on Hatch Point and climbing in Indian Creek will continue, but with better management, enhancing the recreation experience while protecting the region’s monumental resources.

 

Traditional Uses

Many locals, including Native American peoples, are tied to the land through traditional uses including hunting and wood gathering. We are fostering a sense of protection in the eyes of land users, especially traditional users with long-standing connections to the Bears Ears area by respecting continued traditional uses. Collecting traditional herbs and medicine and visitation of sacred sites will continue within protected areas, including wilderness.

(c) Tim Peterson

(c) Tim Peterson

Hunting, grazing, gathering, and wood cutting are land uses that are recognized as significant for spiritual, economic, and traditional reasons. Hunting and fishing will continue in all protected areas and will remain under the regulation of the Utah State Division of Wildlife Resources and the Ute Mountain Ute Wildlife Department. Livestock grazing and wood cutting will remain valid uses within the protected areas. Both need to be better managed in order to protect historic and cultural resources, but both can and will continue.

 

Mining & Energy Development

 

White Mesa Uranium Mill as seen from an Ecoflight overflight. (c) Tim Peterson

White Mesa Uranium Mill as seen from an Ecoflight overflight. (c) Tim Peterson

Because these kinds of land use are largely incompatible with the preservation of the natural and cultural richness of the area, there will be no new mining or oil and gas development within the protected areas, though valid existing development rights will be honored. Protection will include a withdrawal of lands from all forms of industrial entry, appropriation, and disposal under the public land laws; prohibition of location, entry, and patent under the mining laws; and prohibitions on disposition under all laws relating to mineral and geothermal leasing or mineral materials. Valid energy leases and mining claims that exist at the time of protective designation will remain open to careful development.

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