Indefinitely Wild

Why Bears Ears Deserves Protection

Short film captures the former national monument’s unique value

Ace Kvale and Craig Childs huddle by a campfire one night during filming. (Sinuhe Xavier)
altar desert pinacate overland journal land rover

"It would be easy to let this place go unprotected, if you didn’t know what this place was made of," narrates Ace Kvale, in this short film about Bears Ears. Like Donald Trump, who just massively shrunk the monument, I’ve never actually been to Bears Ears. This film helped me appreciate why so many people feel so passionately about it. 

The guy who put this together is Sinuhe Xavier, the creative director of Overland Journal, a 4x4 magazine. The film emphasizes the many different kinds of outdoor recreationist who want to protect this place. After all, our nation’s natural heritage isn’t just valuable to people who live in these wild places, or to crunchy environmentalist types—these lands matter to all of us.

Sinuhe originally made this film in 2014, before the monument got its official designation. Now, with Bears Ears capturing so many headlines, I figured it was worth looking back at why the rollback of national-monument protection is so worrisome. 

“What is this place worth in oil?” Asks Craig Childs in the film. “Where do we want to steer our civilization? What do we want left when we’re done?”

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