Published November 14, 2016
WASHINGTON – More than three dozen paleontologists, both professional and avocational, called for President Obama to act swiftly to protect the Bears Ears region of Utah in a letter hand-delivered to the White House’s Commission on Environmental Quality on October 31st . The paleontology community has long seen the Bears Ears region as an important discovery ground that should be preserved for its scientific value. The letter again signifies a growing list of supporters calling for a national monument to better protect the invaluable resources, including millions of years of history embedded in layers of rock and soil.
“Utah contains some of the richest and most significant paleontological resources in the world,” said Rob Gay, a paleontologist and Curator of Education with the Museums of Western Colorado who traveled to Washington DC to deliver the letter. “The fossil record stretches back over 500 million years and provides insights into our planet’s history not available anywhere else. Ensuring the Administration hears from our research community is important—they need to understand that this place is a living, breathing, museum that should be protected for future generations.”
The letter to President Obama and his Administration noted that increased visitation has brought more people into the area making it much easier for these important resources to be irreparably damaged even by the most well-meaning visitor. The Bureau of Land Management has only one paleontologist and two law enforcement officers for this rich, diverse, rugged and extensive landscape.
The paleontologists urged use of the Antiquities Act to proclaim a Bears Ears National Monument that would recognize the paleontological resources to allow for greater protections for this region.
This BBSNews article originally appeared on Native News Online.