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The Friends of Cedar Mesa (FCM), a non-profit organization based in Bluff, Utah, has been a vocal and instrumental proponent of Bears Ears National Monument. FCM has repeatedly expressed concerns about the area’s 100,000 archaeological sites that it believes needs immediate protection via President Obama’s 2016  1.35 million acre monument designation.

Josh Ewing

FCM has also stated that increased visitation to the area is inevitable and has pushed for funding of a million dollar “Bears Ears Education Center” in Bluff.

But has Josh Ewing, FCM’s executive director “gone rogue?” And is he “only feeding off of FCM to pursue his own agenda?”

That is the opinion of an FCM board member. Sunday afternoon, The Zephyr received, from a third party, a copy of a draft internal memo to two FCM board members from a third board member (whose identities are being withheld for now).

The draft memo expresses concern about FCM’s recent “Kickstarter” fundraising campaign to generate revenues for the proposed  education center.

(Click the image to enlarge)

In the memo, the board member wrote:

“I have just reviewed the “FCM” Kickstarter Campaign.
I am totally repulsed (first word choice), disappointed, maddened, angered,  by two elements.”

…and specifically identifies two areas of concern:

“1-    The opening video seems to be all about Josh.   I took a tally.  Duct Tape and Beer mentioned themselves ONCE.  FCM was named TWICE.  Bears Ears was named FOUR x and JOSH was named 9x.  I think this to be wildly out of balance.   I don’t like the portrayal of our ED as a self-proclaimed ‘total badass.'”

“2-    A $10k price tag for a secret site hike with Josh?  This is the marketing strategy of Backpacker Magazine – “10 best secret hikes in Utah!” and worse..

I am NOT willing to have FCM be seen as an organization willing to sell secret sites to $10,000 donors.”

(Click the image to enlarge)

The FCM board member noted that the Kickstarter campaign—

“…points to the need AGAIN to require some board oversite (sic) of all media productions.  This has been an ongoing PROBLEM.  We had the Josh climbing into a site Patagonia film, the big snafu with the Kane Gulch exhibit which cost FCM $15,000, the current BLM Kane Gulch ranger station video approval, the almost non-use of Celebrate Cedar Mesa as the heading for last year’s Celebrate Cedar Mesa event and who knows how many other little things.”

The board member concluded:

“I can honestly say that I do not trust Josh to make the correct media decisions to put FCM in the best light…Josh seems to have gone roque and is only feeding off of FCM to pursue his own agenda…..which is not totally in FCMs best interest.”

Regarding its fundraising campaign, and its special prize for anyone who will contribute $10,000, here’s how it reads on their Kickstarter page:

“Secret Bears Ears Hike with Josh Ewing

“For a pledge of $10,000, you will receive a guided hike with Josh Ewing—someone who knows the secrets of Bears Ears. Trust us. We have done it. This pledge level is also thanked with your name in Even Bigger Then [sic] XXL size on the Donor’s Wall of Honor in the Education Center, a beautiful 24×36 print of an image on canvas, the warm fuzzies of building something real and a shareable digital supporter card.

“Does not include transportation to or lodging costs in Bluff, UT.”

Whether the board heeds its own member’s warnings remains to be seen.



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