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Photo: Western Spirit

While President Trump’s review of federal lands protected as national monuments launched a public outcry among both conservationist and outdoor recreation groups, that outcry wasn’t enough to prevent Trump from slashing the size of Bears Ears National Monument by 85%, and Grand Staircase-Escalante National monument by roughly 50%. The New York Times reported on released email correspondences earlier this month that show “Oil Was Central in Decision to Shrink Bears Ears Monument,” And The Hill reports that all 43 available drilling plot leases, covering 51,000 acres of land, were sold at auction just last week, raising a total of $1.5 million in revenue.

Photo: Western Spirit

While the drilling plot leases were sold recently, there’s still time to see the beautiful region that is Bears Ears before its development begins. Western Spirit Cycling Adventures has been running trips in Bears Ears for over 25 years, and for 2018 they’re offering three different versions of the trip: Bears Ears Family, Bears Ears Adult, and Bears Ears Getaway. The Family trip will be offered four different weeks in the month of June and will last five days. The “Adult” version will be offered six different weeks throughout the year and will also last five days. The “Getaway” version only lasts four days and will be offered two times in September.

Photo: Bureau of Land Management via Flickr Creative Commons

According to Western Spirit, all of the riding in Bears Ears is on dirt roads, but through both desert and alpine terrain ranging widely in elevation from 4,000 to 10,000 feet above sea level. Consequently, this trip is great for riders with moderate fitness who are interested in dabbling in mountain biking without the challenges of riding technical singletrack.

The Getaway trip is unique in that the itinerary includes both hiking and biking, and that Western Spirit will pick you up from the airport and arrange all of the gear you need–no bike or camping gear required. This fits well with the beginner/green circle rating for both the physical and technical difficulty of the riding here. As with all of Western Spirit trips, the food, campsites, shuttles, and everything else riders need is included. The Family and Adult trips cost $1,245 per person, and the Getaway trip costs $995 per person.

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# Comments

  • presali

    Yes, keep voting for republicans and see more of this country’s natural playgrounds sold for cents on the dollar and then destroyed for corporate profits.

    • Moose man

      As much as I don’t want to see oil rigs here where I also recreate, I also don’t see the need to bring blame and politics into it. I have seen the other political side of this also, where your natural playground was closed to anything other than foot access, thus eliminating my ability to take my grand-dad into areas by horseback to also see and enjoy this land that he helped settle. And if looking at your point, I see on a continual basis the same person screaming nature activist, go and build their homes on the winter refuge of animals, putting their lives in danger. I’m just thinking that finding solutions to problems instead of name-calling and pointing fingers is going to be a lot more beneficial.

  • rajflyboy

    I’m sure oil company employees are also mountain bikers. The trail system could actually be expanded by their arrival.

    Also… how do you power your air conditioning, heat and vehicle? The power has to come from somewhere.

    • presali

      Fat chance the trails will be expanded. Lets assume that they are, will you really be riding across fields of toxic oil rigs that are polluting the air you are hastily consuming while riding your bike hard? Doubt it.

      The argument that asks where the power one consumes originates was thought up by the heritage foundation. Please think of your own questions. That said the argument is weak to begin with because of the limited options in the US. That being said, our family tries its best to conserve where every feasible.

    • John Fisch

      presali,

      Go ride Alien Run in northern New Mexico. Fantastic trail system developed by the BLM. Runs through an area with a ton of extraction (natural gas). If you’re really looking for it, you may see a well or two through the pinions, but you’re definitely not riding through a stinking, toxic wasteland. If you didn’t see the wells on the access road on the way in, you might never even know they’re there.

      Not saying I like the idea of mineral extraction in Bears Ears, but I’m also not going to scream bloody murder that the worst is happening without supporting evidence beyond some preconceived assumptions.

    • mongwolf

      As a forest ecology who has work in forest research and forest management and done so around the world, I’m all for public lands and various levels of protection. I have said this before on this site and will raise it again now in hopes of someone new hearing it. Please go back and read the original purpose and definition of National Monuments. It is a farce to designate large tracts like Bears Ears as a National Monument. A WA yes, a NM no. Honestly and with an ever so slight rebuke, if you are openminded and not too lazy, you can do a quick read on Wiki about the original purpose and then how it has been over-extended. Again, no single person, including any president of any party should have the power to designate LARGE tracts of land. This is an abuse of power, and this is a basic principle of public land management. IF YOU READ, all the public land designations (in short summaries … no excuse now), you will see that smaller areas (relative points in the landscape) can be laid aside by a public individual. But large tracts were only to be set aside by a group that represents the people — specifically by an act of congress. This only makes sense and is proper. Both party’s presidents have abused the NM designation, and it needs to stop. Although I want to see Bears Ears set aside, I don’t want it done wrongly as Obama did … and other places like Bush, Clinton and others have done. Public land mgt is based on certain principles we should all get to know if we are users and/or engaged participants in the public processes or even the public debate (like this thread). Similarly, people seem to have no idea of the distinction between preservation and conservation and use them interchangeable, demonstrating land management ignorance. These two concepts are also bedrock principles in public land mgt and help form the definition of the different land designations like NM and WA.

    • mongwolf

      Presali, this is an honest question. Please elaborate on how oil rigs are toxic to the environment. Oil refineries? I can completely understand concern some may have for refineries. Rigs? I really don’t see it with my limited knowledge. A point to consider, there are oils rigs all over American farm lands and rangelands, causing no toxicity to the immediate local environment to my knowledge. Each one has passed stringent EPA requirements I’m sure. So please elaborate on your point more, and bring some info to back up the assertion. I am always willing to listen to and respect others points and the value-added they can bring to a discussion.

    • mongwolf

      Presali, my question is limited to land rigs, not sea rigs. Obviously, sea rigs are an entirely different animal.

  • John Fisch

    Or you could just go ride Bears Ears on your own and keep your money rather than give it to a company hostile to mountain bike access.

    Oh, the irony.

    Bears Ears ownership has been most vocal in their opposition to lifting the blanket ban on bikes in Wilderness areas… thus continuing to alienate a user group who could become an ally in the preservation of our wild places.

    • John Fisch

      Edit: meant to say Western Spirit ownership, not Bears Ears ownership.

  • rajflyboy

    presali

    Sorry bud but the argument that I want my cars, heat and air conditioning powered by supplies from your back yard but not mine is pure selfish

    The answer is moderation

    Companies need to respect the environment but people need to realize that to have simplicities that we do today we also need ways to power those things

    If you truly believe all fossil fuel powers are bad then please sell your cars, boats and airplanes and call the electric company and shut off your power

  • mongwolf

    As a forest ecology who has work in forest research and forest management and done so around the world, I’m all for public lands and various levels of protection. I have said this before on this site and will raise it again now in hopes of someone new hearing it. Please go back and read the original purpose and definition of National Monuments. It is a farce to designate large tracts like Bears Ears as a National Monument. A WA yes, a NM no. Honestly and with an ever so slight rebuke, if you are openminded and not too lazy, you can do a quick read on Wiki about the original purpose and then how it has been over-extended. Again, no single person, including any president of any party should have the power to designate LARGE tracts of land. This is an abuse of power, and this is a basic principle of public land management. IF YOU READ, all the public land designations (in short summaries … no excuse now), you will see that smaller areas (relatively points in the landscape) can be laid aside by a public individual. But large tracts were only to be set aside by a group that represents the people — specifically by an act of congress. This is only makes sense and is proper. Both party’s presidents have abused the NM designation, and it needs to stop. Although I want to see Bears Ears set aside, I don’t want it done wrongly as Obama did … and other places like Bush, Clinton and others have done. Public land mgt is based on certain principles we should all get to know if we are users and/or engaged participants in the public processes or even the public debate (like this thread). Similarly, people seem to have no idea of the distinction between preservation and conservation and use them interchangeable, demonstrating land management ignorance. These two concepts are also bedrock principles in public land mgt and help form the definition of the different land designations like NM and WA.

    • Moose man

      MongWolf, Thank you for an educated statement instead of going on an agenda rant about one political party over another. Lets educate ourselves before blaming others for something that only amounts to our own stupidity.

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