Listening Session on the Future of Utah’s Public Lands

07/12/2016

On Saturday July 16th U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and U.S. Department of Agriculture Under Secretary Robert Bonnie, alongside the leaders of the NPS, BLM, and USFS, are hosting a public "listening session" to hear stakeholder input on the future of the Bears Ears region in southern Utah. This public gathering will take place in Bluff, Utah and is arguably the most important event regarding public lands of 2016, if not the past decade.

The Bears Ears region is an incredible, 2 million acre swath of Utah's public land rich in cultural resources, and includes Indian Creek, Castle Valley, Fisher Towers, San Rafael Swell, Valley of the Gods, Texas and Arch Canyons, Lockhart Basin, Comb Ridge, and countless other climbing opportunities. It’s also near more than 1,000 miles of iconic mountain biking trails, and over 200 miles of whitewater and flatwater paddling.

There are two competing and fundamentally antithetical plans on the table for the future of southern Utah's public land—and both have implications for climbers and the environment. This listening session will seek the public's input on both of these plans. This is a rare and invaluable opportunity for climbers and human-powered recreation advocates to meet with our Native American and conservation partners while sharing our unique perspective on land protection with high-level land managers.

There is a lot at stake in this battle over the future of Utah's public lands, and the recreation community needs a strong showing at this meeting. Public comments will be determined by a lottery system so the more recreation advocates the better.

The listening session will begin at 1:00 pm at the Bluff Community Center, Corner of Third Street and Mulberry Avenue, Bluff, UT. Recreation advocates will meet at 10:30 am at the Access Fund flag (near the big tent), one block south of the Bluff Community Center. Climbers, paddlers, and mountain bikers are encouraged to make a weekend trip out of the advocacy mission by paddling the San Juan River or climbing in the La Sal Mountains. If you're planning to attend, please RSVP here.

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