The estimated number of visitors in the area covered by the Monticello Field Office jumped from 297,643 in 2016 to 403,178 in 2017.
The Monticello Field Office covers all but the northern end of San Juan County and includes both the initial 1.35 million-acre Bears Ears and the reduced 200,000-acre monument.
The BLM states that the Indian Creek area continues to be popular and accounts for nearly 70 percent of the use in the field office area.
That area is included in the Indian Creek Unit of the national monument.
In the Shash Jaa Unit of Bears Ears, the BLM reports that the hike to House on Fire Ruin was another popular area to visit last year and accounted for much of the increased day-use in the Cedar Mesa area.
Last spring, the area experienced a significant increase in visitors in the Cedar Mesa area. The BLM states that these visits were primarily day users, as opposed to back-country or overnight visitors.
Visitation trends to southeastern Utah have steadily increased over the last ten years, from 226,308 visits in 2012 to 403,178 visits in 2017. This represents a 78 percent increase over six years.
In December, 2016, President Barack Obama designated the new monument, which was cut back one year later by President Donald Trump.
The monuments were created, in part, to honor the ties which traditional and native communities have to the area. In addition to Bears Ears, these areas include Cedar Mesa and Alkali Ridge. Visiting public lands in the region offers a unique experience, connecting people to America’s natural and cultural heritage.
The BLM continues to monitor visitation trends in order to better serve visitors, local communities, and protect important cultural resources–on all public lands.
Because public lands are open to all – without specific entry points – determining visitation is a complex process. The BLM utilizes multiple sources of information, including overnight and day use permits, campground use, data reported under special recreation permits, trailhead registers, and traffic counters.