Advocates also claim that locals seek a designation because of the economic prosperity it would bring. San Juan County residents know better. Major parts of one national park, three national monuments, and a national recreation area already exist in San Juan County. But even with these “protected” lands, the county has the lowest income per person and lowest median family income in the state. It also ranks among the most economically depressed in the entire country. Locals have seen firsthand that locking up multiple-use lands has prevented prosperity, and they expect to suffer even more under the burden of yet another national monument. They understand that a strong economy is a diverse one – relying on a host of activities to drive it – and that a national monument like the Bears Ears will reduce their economic diversity and deepen their financial woes by forcing them to be more dependent on tourism.
Another misconception is the assertion that San Juan County residents have been an integral part of the process. Monument advocates have used tens of millions of dollars and a coordinated media campaign to paint a picture of local involvement. Reality stands in stark contrast to this. Not only have locals been left out of conversations between the federal government and monument supporters, but efforts have been made to drown out local voices during the limited opportunities that residents had to give input.
Outside influence and deception have come to define the campaign to designate the Bears Ears region as a national monument. Special interests have co-opted the process to use federal power as a means of securing their agenda, despite local opposition. Please stand with the residents of San Juan County by signing this petition and saying no to deception and special interest politics.