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When it became clear that the San Juan County Commission had indeed thrown its complete support behind the campaign, the reaction from many county residents was one of surprise and disappointment. Here are some of the comments The Zephyr received. They are predominantly from San Juan residents who actively participated in efforts to rescind or reduce the size of the monument. Many were actively involved in the group, Stewards of San Juan, though to be clear, these comments only reflect their personal views. 

Also included are some remarks by former Grand County Councilman Lynn Jackson.


As far as the “Monumental” campaign, it was a result of miss/lack of communication on a project that is not even complete. I feel that the commissioners didn’t ask enough questions about the campaign and yet again, there was a lot of non local influence behind the campaign. Influence from m individuals of whom are either unaware of, or uninterested with local concerns about the future growth of SJC.


I’m really scared for this county, and frankly, I am shocked that our elected officials and some business owners cannot see the damage that they are about to create by supporting this Make It Monumental campaign. These are the same people who were behind the #NoMonument movement, have said over and over that we do not want to become the next Moab, and that we do not want to solely depend on tourism for our economy. But that’s exactly what this campaign promotes and it makes SJC look like a bunch of hypocrites.

It’s like they’ve developed this “if you can’t beat them, join them” attitude and it’s disheartening. Knowing that it’s being supported by our own elected officials is a slap in the face to many of their constituents and it mocks those who are still fighting the #NoMonument battle. I thought they were better than that. I thought we all were better than that. I also thought this was about protecting the area, and trying to save it from being trampled to death. Wasn’t that the point?

Many of us still believe that and are still fighting because we love this area and know that the fight is far from over. But when you wake up and see that those who are supposed to be representing you have not only stopped fighting altogether, but are now trying to promote the hell out of the place (even when a management plan isn’t in place), it makes you wonder what their personal priorities are. Was it really all for protection? Or is it all for profit?”


–While I have often used a “play on words” to sell an idea or stir interest on posters or stories I was working on, my heart and mind did a backward flop when I first read that “Make it Monumental” was San Juan County’s new marketing theme.  Why?  Because I and thousands of others were part of a two-years grass roots effort fighting against yet another “monumental” designation in our county.  Bears Ears NM as designated by Pres. Obama was just one more federal intrusion which sought to manage public lands, by jeopardizing the many cultural and rural uses of this prized public real estate.  Most of us saw, and continue to see, media-motivated tourism as the #1 enemy of this pristine property.

–I still believe that slow steady growth fostering year-round well-paying jobs is preferred to sensationalizing seasonal hit and run tourism.  With 150 years of well documented drought patterns, I don’t see how any community in the Four Corners area can justify a major jump in tourist related amenities or anything that requires more water.

–What may be a timely marketing ploy rubs many non-paid, non-subsidized, non-beholden grass root volunteers the wrong way. Yes, we believe that our efforts were worth it, and yes, we are glad a substantial size reduction was made to BENM, but the threat of naive, and ill-informed tourists is still real.  Why are we promoting anything “monumental”, when no safeguards, personnel, infrastructure, policies, or even secure destinations are in place? Transient Room Taxes could be better spent on educating locals and visitors alike on wise wanderings, water conservation, as well as appreciation for the Wonders of San Juan.

Eva Clarke Ewald:

It looks as though the county employee/marketer who designed that slogan will be profiting from it with her own business of tourism and outdoor recreation. Surprise, surprise. I’ve spoken to many residents since the unveiling of the controversial slogan and have yet to find one who is okay with this…. Hopefully our dedicated citizens will contact the commissioners with their opposition to the slogan, they need to hear it. Nothing like battling ‘friendly fire’ after a ‘Monumental Battle’ to save our home. I’m shocked to have such a slogan slither past the commissioners, who we backed in their political efforts to keep the Monument situation in check. The roll out of the slogan felt like a knife in the back.
Nicole Perkins:

When I first saw the recent “unveiling” of the new county brand I felt like I had been punched in the stomach, along with a reaction of confusion, anger, and a “Hell NO” running through my head. After the long and energetic, unified fight of the county residents against the proposed monstrous Bears Ears monument with our battle cry of “Monumental Mistake”, why in the world would the county think this was a good idea? Maybe Patagonia, but the county?

I soon began receiving texts, phone calls, and messages from residents throughout our community conveying similar reactions to the San Juan Records commentary and the press release.  This indicated to me that San Juan County residents, in spite of appearances, had not had a paradigm shift.

While there are businesses in the county that would benefit from such a campaign and do support it, they are not the majority. It strikes me as somewhat irresponsible to encourage or promote the unsettled Bears Ears which will likely be in court indefinitely.

In the meantime, we have no management plan or funding in place as the tourists come to find something very different than what they were expecting not only because of the expanse and the confusion of what and where the  monument actually is, but also the lack of facilities, paved roads, or signs that usually go with such attractions.

Yet, people are not disappointed with what they do discover.  A pristine area largely untouched by traffic.  A place to soak up the history and endless beauty.  And solitude…

I feel like we are in danger of losing the soul of this community and have sold our inheritance for a “mess of pottage”.

Also, former Grand County Councilman Lynn Jackson, who has watched the transformation of Moab over the past 30 years, offered these comments…


It’s all rather confusing to me. San Juan doesn’t want to become another Moab, yet they are following the exact blueprint that got Moab on its path to progressive nirvana. Welcoming and supporting outdoor environmental education programs and investments, providing support for building mountain bike trails, hiring an economic development coordinator with deep ties to the megalithic outdoor recreation industry, and creating a tourism slogan that’s over the top, in this case ridiculously over the top. “Make it Monumental” is just hard to figure, sending the message you’re all good with monuments down there, in light of what’s gone in the last 18 months?  San Juan, looks like you’re well on your way, following the recipe exactly…..

I moved to a mining and ranching town in 1981 with a few hippies and river runners, Moab. From ground zero I’ve seen this type of transformation to these new West amenity economy towns. Full of progressives. And as a more or less outside impartial observer, I can see you good folks are right on the same path and progression. Hopefully it gives you something to think about.

I hope I’m wrong, but it all looks and sounds too familiar! And you know, some level of recreation economy is great, but it has a tendency to subsume communities, turning them into the great mega industrial level of tourism we now have in Moab, with these great outdoor equipment companies at the helm.

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