Skip to main content

Grand Staircase-Escalante was set up to fail | @highcountrynews | #nationalmonuments #future

An interview with a retiring BLM assistant manager decribing the conflict of cultures managng the Utah national monument.

On the one side are environmentally minded folks from outside the confines of Mormon culture, people like Shelton, who believe fervently in the federal public lands. Their ranks grew following the monument’s establishment in 1996 with the funding then available for hiring new staff, many of whom were trained at world-class science institutions. On the other side, said Shelton, I see a powerful anti-conservation interest, an anti-science interest, and certainly an anti-climate change position. I’ve sat in meetings with high-level people in Utah BLM who will roll their eyes when you mention climate change and say, ‘Well, if you believe it.’ You might as well be asking them to convert to Zoroastrianism. So our staffs are at odds with each other. There’s a lot of antagonism. It’s a really difficult place to work.”

SVP - #Paleontology and Public Lands - #BearsEars National Monument | guest post by @paleorob

An update on the paleontological resources of Bears Ears National Monument by Robert Gay, a paleontologst who has conducted fieldwork in the monument since 2014. He shares that it was no small effort to get paleontoligical resources included in the 2016 proclamation and provides the explicit language. Bears Ears NM and others are currently under review for a reduction in size and Robert Gay points out the review report does not mention paleontology. Under Robert Gay new Triassic bonebeds have been discovered just outside the monument boundaries and that under the review, the monument cannot be shrunk but the boundaries expanded to protect known fossil localities.

Contested National Monuments in Utah House Treasure Troves of Fossils | Inside Science | #BearsEars #fossils

A story on paleontology in Utah's big national monuments--Alan Titus's work in Grand Staircase-Escalante NM with possible implications for new Bears Ears NM. Twenty years as a NM, Grand Staircase-Escalante has yielded 12 named dinosaurs, 5 named marine reptiles, 15 species yet to be described, a possible new ecosystem for Laramidia during the Cretaceous, and current work on three tyrannosaurs. For Bears Ears NM the potential is for the continued discovery of earlier organisms (crocodiles, tetrapods), according to Rob Gray, including how life responded just after the Permian-Triassic extinction. Also, a sidebar on looting and destruction of fossil sites.