Utah has some of the most beautiful—and most crowded—national parks in the country. That’s why you should check out the state’s less visited monuments, Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante, while you still can. When it comes to accessible outdoor action, America’s national monuments often outshine our national parks anyway. You can ride a mountain bike off-road. You can bring your dog and camp almost anywhere. Most of the time, there’s no entry fee. What more could you ask for?
In the case of Utah’s Mighty Monuments, you could ask to have them back, for starters.
Once recognized among the largest national monuments managed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Grand Staircase-Escalante and Bears Ears have suffered the largest rollback of public lands protections in U.S. history. Despite ongoing legal challenges, a pair of dubious presidential proclamations designed to dismember these monuments were recently set in motion, effectively slashing Bears Ears by 85 percent and Grand Staircase by about half.