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Bears Ears Service Weekend [Forests]

July 24, 2020 - July 27, 2020

The Land

With the designation ofBears 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

We are returning to Elk Ridge for our fourth consecutive year working with the Manti-La Sal Forest Service on a series of natural resource protection projects. This year’s multi-day, multi-weekend program continues our exclosure work with the aim to promote the regeneration of healthy aspen forests through the management and mitigation of the impacts from elk and ungulate browsing on Elk Ridge. Work tasks will vary by need and are slated to include:

  • Repairing or removing aspen exclosures;
  • Training to monitor for new aspen growth. Conducting new growth surveys.

Our Objective: To protect new aspen tree growth from the impacts of travel and grazing ungulates.

A comprehensive itinerary will be provided to registered volunteers.

  • Thursday, July 23rd: Optional early arrival/camping.
  • Friday, July 24th: Day 1.
  • Saturday, July 25th: Day 2.
  • Sunday, July 26th: Day 3.
  • Monday, July 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.



July 24, 2020
July 27, 2020
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