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Bears Ears National Monument Service Weekend I

July 21, 2018 - July 22, 2018

The Land

When President Obama used his authority under the Antiquities Act to designate Bears Ears National Monument on December 28th, 2016, he granted a new layer of protection 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, including House on Fire and Moon House ruins.

While this historic proclamation now stands in jeopardy, we the people can take action to protect our public lands from the ground up, while honoring and calling attention to the broader need for top-down action. Join us in Bears Ears National Monument and take a hands-on approach to conservation.

The Work

We are traveling to Elk Ridge and nearby Dark Canyon Wilderness to work with the Manti-La Sal Forest Service to address the impacts of increased visitation at protected archeological sites. As the location of these sites become more widely known, education struggles to keep apace with practical ethics. A vast array of cultural resources contained within the proclaimed designated region of Bears Ears National Monument require higher levels of management to ensure protection from negligent and uninformed travel.

Work tasks will vary by need, and are slated to include:

  • infrastructure improvements at a Forest Service-managed archeological site;
  • loading and carrying needed materials and tools to site;
  • trail management and improvements;
  • sign and informational kiosk installation

Our Objective: To provide apt protections for the chosen cultural site, ensuring alleviation of future impacts related to vehicle access, foot traffic and negligence.

A comprehensive itinerary will be provided to registered volunteers.

  • Friday, July 20th: Optional early arrival to camp on Friday evening.
  • Saturday, July 21st: Day 1 of Project. We will gather at 8:30am and depart for our worksite at 9:00am. We will work until 4:00pm, then travel back to camp.
  • Sunday, July 22nd: We will gather at 8:30am after breakfast. We will work until 3:30pm.

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.


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.

Camping & Meals

Volunteers will camp on site at the Gooseberry Meadow on Elk Ridge. A nearby cabin provides amenities, including: flush toilet and an indoor kitchen.

SUWA provides (1) dinner, (1) breakfast, and snacks during the project. Volunteers are responsible for all additional meals during their stay.


A completed 2018 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 21, 2018
July 22, 2018
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