The American Fly Fishing Trade Association (AFFTA) applauds President Obama’s decision to designate southeastern Utah’s Bears Ears area as a national monument.
Throughout the past year, AFFTA has supported the designation, with efforts including sending a letter to President Obama, press releases, and concentrated social media postings.
AFFTA’s letter to the President noted that “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 trout fishing opportunities’ and that “while Lake Powell itself would fall outside of the
Bears Ears Monument, the lake’s future depends on a healthy watershed and an abundant supply of
fresh water flowing from its tributaries, including the San Juan River.”
Encompassing over 1.3 million acres of public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service, the Bears Ears area is one of the most significant cultural landscape in the United States. In addition to protecting traditional Native American land use and tens of thousands of cultural sites, a monument designation for Bears Ears would ensure the conservation of the area’s diverse natural resources — including its waters, plant and animal life — and the outdoor recreation they support.
Bears Ears National Monument has the support all of the Tribal governments in the region, local grassroots Navajo and Ute people and the vast majority of the citizens of Utah. In addition, Former Interior Secretaries, park superintendents, outdoor recreation industry and other business leaders, veterans, archeologists, communities of faith, labor leaders, and conservation groups all united behind the Tribes in asking President Obama to use the Antiquities Act to protect Bears Ears.
“As the voice of America’s 4.5 million fly-fishing anglers and the thousands of outfitters and guides who depend on the health of our nation’s waterways, the American Fly Fishing Trade Association recognizes that establishing the Bears Ears National Monument helps to ensure the future health of our industry and the waterways that nourish it,” said AFFTA’s President Ben Bulis.
“According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, fishing in Utah accounts for over $451 million in yearly spending, supporting businesses and jobs and generating tax revenue throughout the state,” said Dustin Carlson, a Utah-based member of AFFTA and partner of Green Drake Outdoors. “We thank the President for acting to safeguard our outdoor heritage and sporting traditions and the economic opportunities they support.”
“We applaud Secretary Jewell, Undersecretary Bonnie, and other administration officials for coming
to Utah to meet with stakeholders. They have invested an extraordinary amount of time and energy
in the management of our nation’s public lands and resources,” said Bulis. “We welcome actions such as this by the administration that maintain and improve our nation’s fishing grounds and provide quality opportunities for anglers.”
Bears Ears encompasses one of America’s most significant cultural landscape. We thank President Obama for the national monument designation of such an important area and urge our elected leaders to continue to protect our cultural and natural heritage for the next generation. AFFTA also would like to thank Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, BLM Director Neil Kornze, and USFS Chief Tom Tidwell for their work in the designation process.
AFFTA advocates for and promotes the sustained growth of the fly-fishing industry. By igniting consumer demand for products and services, providing businesses the tools to be successful, and advocating for access, protection and restoration of fishing waters, we will continue to enhance the passion and profitability of the sport of fly fishing.