A blessing of hard male rain fell on Bear’s Ears National Monument (BENM) yesterday, Saturday, June 18, 2022. It is now official. A historic event took place to “officially recognize the cooperative agreement between five sovereign Native Nations and federal agencies for the co-management of BENM”.
The day started out, getting up early to drive up to Bear’s Ears Meadows from Bluff, Utah to join the official contingent. Driving up the winding, dirt forest road was heady as within minutes you are at 7,000 feet high, driving through the saddle between the Bear’s Ears. We encountered no vehicles and wondered, where are all the officials? It was a chilly 60 degrees as raindrops started to fall. The meadows were lush with green grass, the cattle were fat and contented and the Aspens were bright in the shadows.
We drove several dirt roads but it was clear we were either lost or no one was up on the mountain. So we decided to make the most of the day and drove into the Natural Bridges National Monument. The rain continued to fall and thunder boomed over the canyons. It was time to leave. We decided to take the scenic route back to Bluff, down the switchbacks of the Moqui Dugway. This Hwy 261 takes you the edge of the world as it winds down off Cedar Mesa to the Hwy 163 junction.
At the junction of Hwy 163 we saw official looking vehicles parked alongside the road. We stopped as we finally found the officials we were looking for. More vehicles arrived and the celebration of unveiling the official BENM public sign took place. In attendance were the National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management and representatives of the Hopi Tribe, Zuni Tribe, Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, Ute Indian Tribe and Navajo Nation.
The official BENM signage depicts an ancestral puebloan dwelling with a backdrop of “Hon mrzu” Bear’s Ears in the background. A few hours later the rain started and drenched the parched ground in blessing of the end of an extraordinary day!
Please visit the Friends of Cedar Mesa Visitor/Education Center in Bluff, Utah for a full orientation to the restoration of the Bear’s Ears National Monument.