Tribal <i>Bears Ears Commission,</i> local voices will help develop management plan

In his designation of the Bears Ears National Monument on December 28, U.S. President Barack Obama called for the creation of a “a Bears Ears Commission to ensure that tribal expertise in traditional knowledge help inform the management of the Bears Ears National Monument and help us to best care for its remarkable national treasures.”
In a separate statement, the BLM said, “a Bears Ears Commission has been created that will enable tribes to share information and advice with federal land managers. While tribal input will be carefully and fully consider during such planning and management, the BLM and US Forest Service retain ultimate authority over the monument.”
The tribal groups promoting the designation of the monument had asked for “co-management” of the new monument. While the structure outlined in the designation is not what tribes initially sought, they expressed support for the new it.
In addition to tribal input, the BLM and Forest Service will initiate a monument planning process, including opportunities for public input.
The federal land management groups plan to schedule a series of informal open houses beginning in January. As part of the formal management planning process, the land management groups will announce public sessions later in the year.
The proclamation also establishes a local advisory committee made up of interested stakeholders, including state and local governments, tribes, recreational users, local business owners, and private landowners, as well as the Bears Ears Commission.
While designation of the national monument was made under the presidency of Barack Obama, the development of a monument management plan will take place under the Donald Trump administration. It is anticipated that federal managers under a Trump presidency may not be as friendly to environmental causes as they are under the Obama administration.

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