Many years ago, my sister and I went on a camping trip to southern Utah. She was familiar with the area, but it was new to me. One of the places we visited is called Valley of the Gods.
We were driving through southern Utah, through some pretty flat, but broken landscape. Big rocks littered the side of the road, and there was a decent amount of low scrub brush and small trees. As far as you could see, all the way to the flat horizon, was rocks, orange-red dirt, and dark green trees and bushes. We came around a corner and suddenly, dropping about 150 feet below us, was a massive valley. We were driving on top of a huge mesa, and now we were standing before a valley spread out to the horizon. The valley was flat except for massive stone structures, towers and buttes, dotted throughout the valley. It looked like a gigantic ocean with buttes representing massive sailing ships, sailing off to the horizon. The sheer space and vastness of it left me in awe of our natural world.
Today Valley of the Gods is part of the Bears Ears National Monument, created after five Native American tribes planned and worked with government to designated these lands as protected; it is the first-ever tribal monument request approved by a President, President Obama in December, 2016. Now the government of Utah has appealed to President Trump to open these lands for potential logging, mining, and drilling.
The Secretary of the Interior, Ryan Zinke, is accepting comments until May 26. You can submit comments here: www.regulations.gov. You can also submit comments through the Bears Ears Coalition web site.
The NRDC is also accepting signatures for a petition to Secretary Zinke.
Sketch of Valley of the Gods