Experience Bears Ears with Western Spirit Cycling, Before It’s Filled with Oil Wells

43 plots of land totaling 51,000 acres in the former Bears Ears National Monument have been sold for oil drilling. Enjoy Bear Ears now with a guided trip from Western Spirit Cycling.

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.