RunOut #13: What’s the Future of Bear’s Ears?

In 2016, President Obama declared Bears Ears as a new national monument, protecting 1.3 million acres of land in southeast Utah. Thanks to the work of many different groups in the outdoor industry, particularly the Access Fund and Patagonia, climbing was specifically designated as a legitimate activity in this monument—home to Indian Creek and many other vertical adventures.

The climbing world hailed the declaration as a success.

Of course, within a year, popular-vote-loser Donald Trump issued one of his many legally questionable executive orders to slash the size of Bears Ears National Monument by 85 percent.

“The decision to reduce Bears Ears is expected to set off a legal battle that could alter the course of American land conservation, putting dozens of other monuments at risk and possibly opening millions of preserved public acres to oil and gas extraction, mining, logging and other commercial activities,” wrote the New York Times.

Indeed, since then, a lawsuit challenging the legitimacy of Trump’s order, has been issued through the Access Fund as well as a number of other groups, many in the outdoor world. That lawsuit is currently moving forward in a Washington D.C. district court—and what’s amazing is that it’s just one of many, many projects that the Access Fund is working on on behalf of us climbers.

This is Andrew Bisharat, and you’re listening to The RunOut podcast. I’m here with my co-host Chris Kalous. And today, we invited Erik Murdock, policy director at the Access Fund, to bring us up to speed on Bears Ears, as well as all of the other projects the Access Fund is juggling. The scope of their work is just incredible. What this organization does for us behind the scenes is worth supporting, I think—in all sense of that word.

As I wrote last year in a rant on my website Evening Sends, “If you think that Bear Ears, or our oceans, or any of our National Parks are ‘forever protected,’ it’s time to think again. These are all just proclamations on pieces of paper. They mean nothing. The real power is found in our collective vigilance. This is a responsibility we can’t ignore. It’s time to get motivated and carve off a little bit of that legendary climber stoke, and dedicate ourselves to getting involved.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: