May 19, 2017
For immediate release
ALBUQUERQUE– This week, New Mexico Wildlife Federation staff returned from a turkey hunting trip to Bears Ears National Monument. After meeting with Tribal Coalition members and local residents, we are more convinced than ever that Bears Ears should remain a national monument.
The Interior Department is reviewing national monuments designated in the last 21 years and accepting public comments. Our monuments across the West tell the stories of our shared cultural heritage, protect wildlife corridors from development, and allow all Americans to hunt, fish, and camp in the outdoors. In Bears Ears, a historic coalition of five tribal nations worked for years to protect this place of significant cultural heritage and are continuing to fight for it now as it comes under attack.
“There is a lot of misinformation floating around about this monument,” said executive director Garrett Vene Klasen. “Going to Bears Ears really opened my eyes to what a hunter’s monument it really is. The only thing you can’t do in the monument is drill and destroy the beautiful, sacred landscape. During this comment period, I encourage everyone to reach out to the Interior Department and voice your support for keeping Bears Ears – and all our monuments across the West – intact as they are.”
The New Mexico Wildlife Federation recognizes the need for development on our public lands, but places that are protected need to remain protected for future generations.
Along with National Wildlife Federation staff, NMWF successfully harvested a turkey in the monument, highlighting the amazing recreation opportunities. We also met with Ute member Malcom Lehi and Navajo member Davis Filfred who were integral in making the monument designation happen. They emphasized the importance of the area to multiple tribes, the unprecedented cooperation among community members, and the need to protect this area from development.
As New Mexicans, it is important to remember that national monuments no matter their location, are open to all Americans. An attack on one is an attack on all, including our own Rio Grande del Norte and Organ Mountains Desert Peaks National Monuments. As our public lands continue to come under attack, it is important for everyone to come together to protect them.