Fifteen individuals are now officially part of the initial Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Bears Ears National Monument Advisory Committee (BENMAC).
The April 11 appointments are the culmination of a nomination process that began in September 2018. The BENMAC was established as part of the Presidential Proclamations of Presidents Barak Obama and Donald Trump that established, then modified, the Bears Ears National Monument.
The initial BENMAC includes Bruce Adams in the Local Elected Official category; Gordon Larsen representing State Government; Brooks Britt, Paleontology; Lee Bennett, Archaeology; Miles Moretti, Conservation; Gail Johnson, Livestock Grazers / Permittees; Alfred Ben and Ryan Benally, Tribal Concerns; Jared Berrett and Dustin Randall, Developed Recreation; Danny Flannery, Dispersed Recreation; Zeb Dalton, Private Landowners; Adam Redd, Local Business Owners; and Jami Bayles and Kelly Pehrson representing the Public at Large.
Terms for the initial members of the BENMAC are staggered so they don’t all expire at the same time. A third will expire in April 2020, a third in April 2021, and the remaining third in April 2022. Open periods for new nominations will be announced in the federal register.
The new committee will provide information and advice regarding the development of the Monument’s management plan and the management of the Monument as stated in the Presidential Proclamations establishing the Monument.
“The BLM welcomes new members of the Bears Ears National Monument Advisory Committee and looks forward to hearing their recommendations,” said Lance Porter, Canyon Country District Manager and BENMAC Designated Federal Officer.
“Their input, in addition to the public comments received, will help ensure a variety of perspectives, including local voices, are considered in developing options for managing the new National Monument and meeting visitor and local community needs.”
New BLM Monticello Field Manager Gary Torres said, “I’m heartened by all of the community involvement and interest in managing public lands. I’d like to echo Lance’s welcome to the new committee members and extend our appreciation to everyone who submitted applications.”
In addition to the BENMAC, the Presidential Proclamation of President Trump also established the Shash Jáa Commission which consists of one elected officer each from the Hopi Nation, Navajo Nation, Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, Ute Indian Tribe of the Uintah Ouray, and Zuni Tribe, designated by the officers’ respective tribes.
The Shash Jáa Commission also includes San Juan County Commission District 3 representative Kenneth Maryboy.
According to a BLM spokesperson, “The BLM and the [Forest Service] have engaged and will continue to seek tribal input, and communication is ongoing throughout the [Bears Ears National Monument] planning process.
“The Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) describes consultation and coordination efforts in more detail in chapter four of the Draft [Monument Management Plan] and EIS.
Resource Advisory Councils were established by the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (43 U.S.C. 1739) as citizen advisory groups to the BLM.
These citizen-based groups provide an opportunity for individuals from all backgrounds and interests to have a voice in the management of America’s public lands, and to help improve their health and productivity.
Each Monument Advisory Committee consists of 10 to 15 members from diverse interests in local communities, including ranchers, environmental groups, tribes, State and local government officials, academics, and other public land users.