As a Southwest Utah resident, I am excited and relieved that the Bears Ears and Gold Butte monuments have been proclaimed. I have had the opportunity to explore both areas and have found a wealth of beauty and history in these amazing places. Whether sleeping under the darkest skies I have ever seen or hiking amongst ruins and art scattered among cliffs, the experience has humbled me. It has also made me feel that the land needed protection.
The first step in protection starts now. There will be many things to iron out. People will have different opinions.
I attended the meeting on Bears Ears in Bluff last summer when Secretary Jewell was in Utah. It was over 100 degrees, the crowd was too large for the venue, and there were strong conflicting views. But what I saw was civility. I sat next to an elderly woman who obviously had an opposing viewpoint and we talked and clapped for our sides. I have no doubt she knows and loves the land. My hope is that we can find common ground on these beautiful lands so that they will be enjoyed by generations to come.