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Fear and uncertainty in Bears Ears area about future of land, way of life

Fear and uncertainty in Bears Ears area about future of land, way of life

(Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)

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This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.

INDIAN CREEK — When Heidi Redd first came to Indian Creek 50 years ago, there was nothing.

No paved roads. No parking lots. No rock climbers carving new trails in the red sand.

She could sit beside the stream on her ranch and hear little besides the wind whistling through the towering cottonwoods.

But times have changed. Redd is 75 now. She’s lived on Indian Creek for more than 50 years, inside what is currently considered Bears Ears National Monument about an hour south of Moab. Her Dugout Ranch is one of the most iconic in the West, the site of Western movies and Marlboro ads. It sits at the base of steep red rock cliffs on the edge of Canyonlands National Park, not far from Newspaper Rock. Ralph Lauren wanted to buy it, as did Christie Brinkley, before Redd sold it to the Nature Conservancy in 1996 with the agreement she could stay on for life.

This is still a landscape of immense silence, and yet barely a day goes by without a parade of cars zipping by. They come to see the petroglyphs and the ancient Anasazi dwellings, to ride mountain bikes and camp. She notices the plates. They come from California and Colorado and Arizona and Nevada. And she can’t help but notice the parking lots — three already within six miles of her home — sprouting up around her like chokeweed.

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