The Wilcox Family opposes the Bears Ears National Monument

Bear Ears, Wilcox Family, Trump this Monument, No Monument
The Wilcox Family Opposes the Bears Ears National Monument

Wilcox Family – Residents of San Juan County Since 1970.

Though both Steve and I grew up in the farmlands of southern Idaho, we have learned to love San Juan County and have lived here since 1970. At first it seemed barren, dry, and too rocky. But it is Home to us now. We love the open spaces, the clean air, the slower life style and the varied landscapes which includes farms, forests, mountains, pastures, canyons, buttes, lakes, open spaces and small towns.

Central to our core beliefs is a love of the land. Steve was raised on an irrigation farm, and I was raised on a dry farm, so we’re used to getting dirty and working hard. We have raised not only a large family but a great deal of our own food ever since we moved here, plus we share with others. We are conservationists in that we try not to waste water, produce, time, energy, or belongings. We and our neighbors have been putting things we don’t need on a give-away corner at 1st S. and 3rd W. for eight years now. Because of that and being very frugal, our family reunions and activities were usually centered somewhere in the camping areas of San Juan.

Traditionally we have been tent campers without modern conveniences that modern man (woman) seems to think they can’t live without, though that has changed a bit the last 15 years. Besides family campouts our family has participated in multiple Boy Scout Camps, Girls Camps, Cub Scout camps and Fathers and Sons outings on the mountain. Some of the places we’ve camped include Bulldog, Lake Powell, Wolf Cave, Cottonwood, Blue Mountain Guest Ranch, Buckboard, Camp Jackson, Recapture Reservoir, Nizhoni Campground, Johnson Creek, Chippean Ridge, Devils Canyon, Elk Mountain, Lloyd’s lake area, Dry Wash, Abajo Haven, Red Butte, and Foy Lake. We have loved those experiences, and have done our best to camp and recreate in harmony with the surroundings and teach our family and others to leave places better than they were found.

There is NOT a lot of green space in San Juan County, that is why as residents are so against having a National Monument that stretches onto our beautiful mountain areas and down the north side. Most citizens who live here—Hispanic, Native and Anglo– have learned to love, care for, and utilize the good things that the Mountain has offered us. In turn we have learned to be good stewards of the land and follow the existing guidelines of the Forest Service.

This mountain range has been a beacon of hope, home and harmony to all cultures in the county. The Mountain Range has produced, protected, and been a provident Mother to us all. Those who know her best have followed her trails and her canyons; they have climbed her buttes and peaks, and camped in her forests and have even lived in cabins and hogans on her hillsides.

We have groomed her landscapes by gathering dead wood. In turn this helps us heat our homes and hogans. In doing so we have helped protect the mountain from fires. When dead wood is harvested, controlled burns don’t need to happen. Fall outings to gather wood were central to our preparations for winter as our family was growing up and I know it continues to be for many in our area still.

Like the Diné and Ute, we too have gathered various supplies from nature, mainly pine needles and cones to use for garden mulch, to cut back on water usage and improve alkaline soil. As a family we have often fasted for 24 hours and offered our prayers to heaven for rain and snow to bless our mountain, which in turn blesses all of us. It is a synergistic relationship which blesses both the giver and the receiver and produces the greatest results for both the Mountain and Mankind.

– Janet Wilcox & the Wilcox Family

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