Monday, August 08, 2016

Bears Ears monument would be good for fishing and for Utah’s economy

By Dustin Carlson

As an avid angler, I have spent many hours fishing on the San Juan River, Lake Powell and elsewhere in southern Utah. That's why I was proud to see the American Fly Fishing Trade Association, for which I serve on the board of directors, join a large, diverse coalition of stakeholders led by the Bears Ears Intertribal Coalition (BEITC) supporting permanent protection for these majestic lands and waters.

...In particular, the lakes, streams and reservoirs in and around the Abajo Mountains west of Monticello, and the San Juan River running between Bluff and Lake Powell, offer a myriad of fishing opportunities. While Lake Powell itself would fall outside of the Bears Ears Monument, the lake's future depends on an abundant supply of fresh water flowing from its tributaries, including the San Juan River.

...National monument status for Bears Ears would help to safeguard our outdoor heritage and sporting traditions and the economic opportunities they support. But even more importantly, permanent protection would ensure that these pristine lands and waters remain healthy and accessible for our communities and future generations of Americans to enjoy.

And there is this from the Op-Ed: 

The new monument would also have great potential to spur economic growth in Bluff and surrounding areas. A recent study from Headwaters Economics assessing the economic performance of counties adjacent to and containing national monuments — including Utah's own Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument west of the Bears Ears area — found that two-thirds of these communities (13 of 17) grew at the same or a faster pace compared to similar counties in their state.

That's not exactly a ringing endorsement of National Monuments, especially coming from Headwaters Economics, who has never found an acre of federal property that they didn't fall in love with.  I haven't seen the study, but if one out of every three communities declined, that's not saying much for the designation.

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