The most profound aspect of Bears Ears is the Native presence that is interwoven into every cliff and corner. Wondrous though the natural formations are, these cultural elements combine with the land and contribute to its significance. This spirit is the beating heart of Bears Ears. The region is home to more than 100,000 sacred sites and is of paramount cultural and spiritual importance to multiple Indigenous communities today. Do your part and practice respectful visitation by following and sharing the tips below:
- Before visiting the landscape, please go to the Friends of Cedar Mesa Visitor Center in Bluff, Utah. This center provides more detailed information on how to treat Bears Ears with respect and support its longevity.
- Stay on all marked trails and roads – please don’t make your own.
- If you happen upon a cultural site, please enjoy it from afar.
- Please do not climb in/on or touch ancestral structures – they are extremely fragile and still used in ceremonial practices today.
- Please do not reveal a site’s location, GPS coordinates, or utilize geotags on social media as this can attract large foot traffic to an unprotected space.
- Please refrain from touching rock art, or making your own. These images contain stories told from generation to generation.
- Please leave all cultural objects (such as pottery pieces and corn cobs) as you found them; do not remove them from their place of rest and take them as “souvenirs.” These objects are crucial to passing along knowledge, connecting with our ancestors, and are part of the landscape itself.
- Leave no trace: be prepared to pack out everything you bring into the landscape. Human/pet waste has become a major problem in the region as there are very few portable bathrooms available for visitors, so make sure you have a plan.
We can all make a difference by the way we choose to behave and conduct ourselves when visiting Bears Ears. This region is a sacred space, and over the years the amount of looting and site destruction that has taken place continues to cause immeasurable harm to Native communities connected to it. There is a reason that these objects and sites were left behind. Today’s Tribal people continue to view the Bears Ears country as part of their ancestral homeland and currently use the area.
Thank you for being a good visitor and doing your part to protect Bears Ears. #VisitWithRespect #LeaveNoTrace #HonorTribes #StandWithBearsEars #YouAreOnNativeLand
Show your support on social media! Download our “visitor ally” graphic and share it with your community.
. . . . . . . . . .
* Disclosure: These visitation guidelines were provided by the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition staff. They are unofficial and are currently under review by the five Coalition Tribes regarding visitation protocols on their homelands.