Bears Ears National Monument: My Volunteer Responsibilities

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The first week of volunteering is under my belt and I’ve had a chance to chart out my schedule/route. There are a total of 15 sites which I’ve been asked to monitor, most of which are not technically published by the BLM so unfortunately I won’t be able to share the specific locations of the majority of sites I visit. However, I can still tell you about the site’s history and other interesting facts.

I’ve had a number of people ask what my role is while I’m here at Bears Ears National Monument volunteering. Here’s a bit of information to help you understand what I’ll be up to on a day to day basis…

Visit with Respect Volunteer Position Description:

This position functions on public lands in San Juan County, Utah. The volunteer serves as a representative of the Friends of Cedar Mesa and the Bureau of Land Management and is responsible for providing professional, courteous assistance, and educational information to area visitors about how to visit archeological sites. 

Major Duties:

  • Assisting visitors with hiking and area information.

  • Providing information about archaeology and natural history to visitors.

  • Checking the rock art panels and structures for vandalism and alerting managers/staff to any new damage.

  • Presenting Visit with Respect Information in a friendly and educational manner. 

I was hoping to hit up each site once a week but logistically speaking it’s just not possible. The sites are clustered together in groups, one of which is really deep in the Monument and requires an all day 4-wheel plus a short hike to get there. So instead of trying to knockout each site once a week, I’ll just work at a steady pace and see how much I can get done along my established route. 

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I’ve been to 5 sites on my route - 3 ruins, a large mesa where people disperse camp, and 1 large rock art panel. All of the ruins I’ve visited are located at the entrance of caves in beautiful sandstone mini-canyons carved out by water over millions of years. The size, complexity, and ingenuity of the ruins have been impressive and I’m anxious to check out more sites on my list! This coming week looks to offer up favorable weather so I’m planning to knock out the remaining 10 sites this week. I look forward to sharing the details with you!

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