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Archeological Survey Service Week [Bears Ears NM]

May 26, 2020 - May 29, 2020

The Land

With the designation of Bears Ears National Monument on December 28th, 2016, a new layer of protection was granted to some of the most spectacular places in southern Utah. There is Cedar Mesa, with its incredible canyons running toward the San Juan River. There is White Canyon to the west of Natural Bridges. There are the Bears Ears themselves and the high ponderosa forests of Elk Ridge. To the north there’s Beef Basin and Indian Creek. Nearly 100,000 archaeological and cultural sites were covered by the proclamation, with protections afforded to a historied landscape long-neglected and actively undermined by private interests.

While this historic proclamation now stands in jeopardy, we the people can take action to protect these lands from the ground up, while honoring and calling attention to the broader need for top-down action.

The Work

Join us for the week as we work with a team of Forest Service archeologists to survey an undocumented cultural site. This four-day program will include an introductory cultural resource survey training followed by a multi-day effort to document an existing site near the eponymous Bears Ears buttes.



Our Objective: To survey and document a known cultural site with the long-term goal of better protecting regional cultural resources.

A comprehensive itinerary will be provided to registered volunteers.

  • Monday, May 25th: [Optional] Early Arrival + Camping
  • Tuesday, May 26th: Arrival + Orientation
  • Wednesday, May 27th: Main Project Day 1
  • Thursday, May 28th: Main Project Day 2
  • Friday, May 29th: Project Wrap-up + Departure

Project Rating 

Level 2 – Our most common trip incorporates mid- to heavy-lifting, work in remote landscapes at varying elevations, an increased diversity of tool use, and an emphasis on physical fitness and hiking competency.

Camping & Meals

Volunteers will camp on site at the Kigalia Guard Station. All water will be carried in. There is a pit toilet on site.

SUWA provides (1) group meal per day during the project. Volunteers are responsible for all additional meals during their stay.

Volunteer Responsibilities

Participants are responsible for their own food, water and camping gear as well as transportation to and from the project site(s). Volunteers should plan to be away from camp all day each of the work days. A recommended pack list will be sent along with the project Welcome Letter two weeks prior to the start date.


A Volunteer Agreement is required for this project. 

When we have received your form, you will receive a confirmation e-mail within 5 working days of submission. The confirmation e-mail will indicate whether you have been placed on the “project roster” or a “waiting list.”

Three weeks before the start of the trip, you will receive an RSVP to confirm your participation. Individuals on the Waitlist will be contacted if spaces open due to cancellation.

Two weeks before the project start date, registered and confirmed participants will receive a Welcome Letter, with a comprehensive itinerary, including: driving instructions, a Project Map (for mobile devices), a notification about carpools and/or caravans, and additional information in a Pre-Departure email.

If you have any questions at any point throughout the process, please don’t hesitate to contact our program coordinator: volunteer@suwa.org  or  (435) 259-9151.



May 26, 2020
May 29, 2020