Letter: Protect Utah lands | PostIndependent.com

Letter: Protect Utah lands

Southeastern Utah is a place of unmatched beauty and history. For many locals of the Roaring Fork Valley, this place is a destination for climbing at Indian Creek, rafting the San Juan River, and hiking on Cedar Mesa or in the Valley of the Gods. But the region's wilderness qualities and rich archaeological history are at risk.

We are all too familiar with fighting oil and gas leases in the Thompson Divide. The Bears Ears area in Utah is facing the same issue and more. Prehistoric sites of ancient Native American activity are being looted and "collected" at an alarming rate. Dwellings that were filled with whole pots and thousands of pottery shards are now barren. Illegal grave robbing has desecrated countless cliff dwellings.

As people who use this land every summer, we have a responsibility to help solve these problems. Luckily we have the support of many locals in southeastern Utah. The Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition is an unprecedented effort from multiple Native American tribes to help save the historic and natural beauty of the Bears Ears region. Organizations like Friends of Cedar Mesa and the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance are working with the local tribes to urge President Obama to approve a 1.9 million acre Bears Ears National Monument. There are over 100,000 sensitive archaeological sites in the Bears Ears area that need protection that can only be provided by a monument.

Now we must stand together like we did for Thompson Divide to ask the president to protect this amazing place that offers so many opportunities to recreate and relive America's prehistoric past.

Leo Tonozzi

Colorado Rocky Mountain School senior