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In July 2015 the Hopi, Navajo, Uintah and Ouray Ute, Ute Mountain Ute, and Zuni tribes—all of whom trace their ancestry to the Puebloans—partnered to form the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition.Three months later they submitted a 40-page proposal to President Barack Obama, asking him to establish the Bears Ears National Monument.(The company also covers climbing, hiking, running, and backcountry skiing.) Wilder’s users contribute routes, typically using the GPS function on their smartphones to track rides and then uploading the data to the Adventure Projects website.Wilder and his wife, Megan—along with their family and friends (including myself)—have helped map hundreds of trails.With his signature, President Obama can use his executive powers under the Antiquities Act of 1906 to proclaim the area a national monument—a designation permanently preserving it that legal scholars say would be almost impossible for a Trump administration to reverse.Assuming Obama acts, which close observers expect he will, knowing that Trump will surely abandon the tribes' proposal, Bears Ears would become the second-largest national monument in the U. (The Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, near Hawaii, is the biggest but encompasses mostly ocean.) While a national monument would bring a bustling (though seasonal) tourism economy to the area, local support in surrounding San Juan County is mixed.
Last year, the BLM was in the process of renewing oil and gas leases near Cortez, Colorado—an area popular with mountain bikers.
Yet the area around Bears Ears was largely blank space on Adventure Projects' mountain-biking app, called MTB Project, which prompted Wilder to bring most of his staff from Boulder to Utah to investigate potential new trails.
The motivation wasn’t solely to beef up the database.
SOUTHEASTERN UTAH—On a brisk, clear morning in early October, the autumn sunlight surges into Arch Canyon and sets the sandstone cliffs on fire, transforming the 250-million-year-old rock into blinding amber.
A creek meanders through the chasm, producing a faint trickle. But a spell of intense rainfall recently spawned a sudden oasis, reviving the cottonwood stands huddled beside the riverbed.