Action Alerts

Action Alerts

Draft Resource Management Plan for Bears Ears National Monument Released

March 8, 2024

After more than 20 months of hard work by the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition & Commission, Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and the United States Forest Service (USFS), and regional  Cooperating Agencies, the draft Resource Management Plan (RMP) for Bears Ears National Monument has been released to the public. This draft RMP is a product of strong collaboration, between the Tribes and agencies, culminating in a precedent-setting plan that blends agency management practices with Traditional Indigenous Knowledge.

Although we are still analyzing the various alternatives in the draft, we applaud the preferred alternative in particular in this plan. This alternative in particular incorporates many elements of the Earth-to-Sky concept introduced by the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition’s  Land Management Plan, released last summer, by focusing on protecting a diverse array of natural and scientific resources and recognizing the landscape as a holistic and interconnected ecosystem. The draft RMP highlights concepts like: 

  • Honoring Tribes through co-management in the decision-making and management process.
  • Protecting Ancestral lands through conserving animal migration corridors and habitats to ensure that wildlife can thrive and hunting and fishing will continue for generations to come; 
  • Balancing the needs of the recreation community, regional communities, and other other stakeholder groups with respect for the spiritual and ceremonial practice of Indigenous peoples who have lived on this land since time immemorial.

This draft RMP represents another shift in federal-Tribal relations towards co-management and honoring the Tribes’ vision -  agencies now have an obligation to honor the Traditional and Local Knowledge of the Commision and involve the Commision at each stage of this plan’s development. 

Bears Ears Partnership (BEP) applauds the Commission Tribes’ and agencies’ hard work over the past year-and-a-half to develop this historic plan. We support not only the shared preferred alternative, but the collaboration and compromise that went into this plan, and are optimistic that this process will serve as a model for the conservation community in the future. 

Take Action 

It’s time to speak up for the protection of Bears Ears! The 90-day comment period on the draft RMP begins today, which is the last opportunity for the public to provide input on the plan that will help determine how Bears Ears is managed for the next 20-30 years. It is vital that BEP and our community support Tribal leadership and the Earth-to-Sky approach, and share any vital knowledge we have of Bears Ears for the agencies to consider as they move toward a final plan. 

BEP will be taking the next month to analyze the draft RMP, coordinate with partner NGOs and the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition and will share some of the vital take-aways with all of you in the coming weeks along with suggested topics to consider including in your own. In the meantime, we encourage you to read the draft and start to prepare & submit your own comments: https://eplanning.blm.gov/eplanning-ui/project/2020347/570 

If you’d like additional information on the steps leading up to and what will follow this 90-day comment period, you can visit the BLM’s website to learn more about their land-planning process. 

We also encourage our community to attend the public meetings (also available via Zoom), listed below, where there will be opportunities for in-person public comment: 

4/16, 3pm MST: Virtual Public Meeting (Watch the recording here.)

4/18, 6pm MST: In-Person Public Meeting in Salt Lake City, UT

4/23, 6pm MST: In-Person Public Meeting in Blanding, UT

5/2, 6pm MST: Virtual Public Meeting (Watch the recording here.)

5/6, 6pm MST: In-Person Public Meeting in Twin Arrows, AZ

5/7, 6pm MST: In-Person Public Meeting in Albuquerque, NM

5/16, 6pm MST: In-Person Public Meeting in Monument Valley, UT