Last month, high level Obama administration officials, including Interior Secretary Sally Jewell and Agriculture Under Secretary Robert Bonnie, recently held a public listening session in Bluff to discuss potential national monument status for the Bears Ears area in southeastern Utah.
As an avid angler, I have spent many hours fishing on the San Juan River, Lake Powell and elsewhere in southern Utah. That's why I was proud to see the American Fly Fishing Trade Association, for which I serve on the board of directors, join a large, diverse coalition of stakeholders led by the Bears Ears Intertribal Coalition (BEITC) supporting permanent protection for these majestic lands and waters.
Encompassing 1.9 million acres of public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management, Forest Service and National Park Service, the Bears Ears area is the most significant unprotected cultural landscape in the United States. In addition to protecting traditional Native American land use and tens of thousands of cultural sites, a monument designation for Bears Ears would ensure the conservation of the area's diverse natural resources including its waters, plant and animal life and the outdoor recreation they support.