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Bears Ears Service Weekend

July 13, 2019 - July 16, 2019

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 third consecutive year working with the Manti-La Sal Forest Service on a series of cultural and natural resource protection projects. This year’s multi-day program continues our exclosure work with the aim to promote the regeneration of healthy aspen forests through the management and mitigation of elk and other ungulate browsing on Elk Ridge. In addition, we will work with a USFS archeologist on cultural site surveying. In addition, we will perform a series of work projects which aim to manage travel within and adjacent to designated wilderness. Work tasks will vary by need and are slated to include:

  • Cultural/archeological site survey work with USFS archeologists
  • Brushing/trailwork on the Wooden Shoe Trail
  • Repairing elk exclosure fencing

Our Objective: To protect cultural and natural resources from the impacts of uninformed and willfully negligent people and cattle.

A comprehensive itinerary will be provided to registered volunteers.

  • Friday, July 12th: Optional early arrival/camping on Friday evening.
  • Saturday, July 13th: Day 1.
  • Sunday, July 14th: Day 2.
  • Monday, July 15th: Day 3.
  • Tuesday, July 16th: 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.,

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.

Apply Now



July 13, 2019
July 16, 2019
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