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BENM Archeological Survey – Week II

May 24, 2021 - May 27, 2021

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 remains in limbo, 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

We are teaming with Forest Service Arcehologists for a weeklong training and survey of cultural resources on Elk Ridge near and within Bears Ears National Monument. Our work will focus on:

  • Surveying known and unknown resources;
  • Documenting resource relationships to existing travel and camping infrastructure;
  • Additional tasks as assigned and led by archeologists

Our Objective: To survey cultural resources to inform future decisions regarding travel and camping in the region.

A comprehensive itinerary will be provided to registered volunteers.

  • Sunday, May 23rd: Optional early arrival/camping.
  • Monday, May 24th: Day 1.
  • Tuesday, May 25th: Day 2.
  • Wednesday, May 26th: Day 3.
  • Thursday, May 27th: Day 4/Final Project Day.

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 Gooseberry Meadow on Elk Ridge. A nearby cabin provides select amenities. There is a pit toilet on site.

Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, SUWA is temporarily suspending its provision of food. Volunteers are responsible for all food and water 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 24, 2021
May 27, 2021
Event Category:


Stewardship Program
(435) 259-9151
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