As one of his last acts as president, Barack Obama employed the mighty Antiquities Act to create Bears Ears National Monument in Southeastern Utah. The monument, which was requested by representatives of Native American tribes and a coalition of environmental groups, archeologists and recreation lovers, contains some of the most stunning scenery in Southern Utah and thousands upon thousands of fragile ruins and artifacts from the ancient ancestors of the southwestern tribes. It rivals Mesa Verde National Monument, across the border in Colorado, in terms of the richness and number of its archaeological treasures. (Plus, it’s a sick place to climb, hike, bike, backpack, ATV, and run rivers—the San Juan.)
Meanwhile, in Utah’s capital city, the biggest trade gathering in the outdoor recreation biz, organizers of the Outdoor Retailer Show (OR), which has been held in Salt Lake City for 20 years, got fed up with Utah lawmakers hostility toward the creation of Bears Ears and ongoing efforts bring all federal lands in Utah under their control and gave the Beehive State a stiff middle finger. The show is looking for a new home in other Western states.