I am grateful for the recent editorial urging President Obama to protect Bears Ears. I wholeheartedly agree with The Salt Lake Tribune in the significance of this proposed monument. As the editorial says, "Decisions made about this and other national monuments, parks and wilderness areas aren't about Utah ... They aren't even really about the United States of America. They are about natural and cultural heritage and treasures that belong to all humanity."
Our public lands are central to my identity. As a Utah millennial, these lands are my spiritual refuge and teacher of humility. In the digital age, it is critical to preserve places in which young people can experience solitude, silence and deep time.
Most importantly, it's time to end our shameful disrespect of the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition's request to protect their ancestral homelands. Utah officials have dramatically failed so far from Rep. Bishop's Public Lands Initiative to insulting and uniformed claims made by state officials at the meeting of the Utah Commission for the Stewardship of Public Lands last week. On April 19, Interior Secretary Jewell called for more diverse voices in public lands. Protecting Bears Ears is a necessary first step. Obama should protect Bears Ears now.