Visit With Respect
As visitors to the greater Bears Ears region, it is our responsibility to respect its natural and cultural sites both out of respect to the region’s Tribes and Pueblos, and for all visitors who come next. Over the past ten years, heightened attention and interest in the area has rapidly increased visitation, causing concern that the natural and cultural resources of Bears Ears are at great risk of being “loved to death.”
In response to the increase in visitation, we developed the Visit with Respect (VWR) campaign to encourage responsible visitation and to curb the degradation of the region's unique resources.
The VWR campaign promotes 19 key tips to help visitors enhance their experience and ensure future visitors can share in the same experience. The campaign uses icons, specific to each VWR principle, so that the messages are quickly digestible—no reading needed—and easy to remember.
These icons and their messaging are directed specifically towards the appropriate visitation of the vulnerable cultural sites that are held sacred to so many of the region’s Tribes and Pueblos, and make this landscape so unique.
Friends of Cedar Mesa has also developed a Visit with Respect Ambassador program, which trains volunteers to educate visitors out on the landscape. These Ambassadors are friendly faces, who truly make a big difference by reaching visitors in the very places we are trying to protect.
If you are interested in joining our partnership and expanding the use of Visit with Respect, please
GPS points often lead uneducated visitors to sensitive sites. When posting online about your trip, remove all references to location.
Human and pet waste threatens fragile desert ecosystems and drinking water sources for hikers and wildlife. Poop near cultural sites is disrespectful to Indigenous cultures that hold this landscape sacred. When hiking and camping, please use portable waste bags or a camp toilet. When you just can’t pack it out, do your best by burying your waste 6 inches deep.
Cairns can increase impacts on sensitive sites and are a form of vandalism to the natural world that detracts from the wild beauty of the area. You might not realize you’re making a cairn with an artifact such as a grinding or shrine stone, which is illegal. Leave placement of trail directional signs and cairns to land managers.
Camping, fires, and food can damage archaeological remains and spoil the view for other visitors. Remember to pack out all your waste, including food scraps.
To prevent digging and erosion, pets are not allowed in archaeological sites. Please make sure to leash pets and keep them away from the site. Pets are not allowed in some areas, so know beforehand where dogs are permitted.
Stay on existing trails and routes to protect the living cryptobiotic soil. Once stepped on, this fragile crust takes years to regrow.
Leave fossils, dinosaur bones, tracks, and other paleontological remains where you find them so future visitors and scientists can learn from them.
Natural oils on your hands damage these delicate images. Vandalism of petroglyphs and pictographs erases stories of ancient people and destroys the experience for future visitors.
This protects delicate archaeology from damage caused by falling rocks and looting. The use of climbing gear like ropes to access archaeological sites is illegal.
Archaeological sites are not playgrounds. Teach children to respect these places. Keep a close eye on them, so they don’t get hurt or accidentally damage cultural resources.
Leave historic artifacts like rusted cans right where they are. They help interpret the past and show who has been there before.
Artifacts are sacred to modern Indigenous peoples, and scientists can learn valuable lessons about the past when objects stay where they are. Artifacts include pottery pieces, stone tools, rock flakes, and corn cobs. It’s illegal to remove any artifact, including historic trash, from public lands.
Re-grinding in slicks and grooves removes the finish left by those who created them. Please refrain from touching or using grinding slicks.
It may not seem like much, but your small fee helps support important monitoring, enforcement, and amenities like toilets.
Use existing roads that are approved for use by land managers. Driving off-road can damage fragile archaeology and ecosystems.
Structures are easily damaged. Please refrain from touching, leaning, standing, or climbing on any structures, no matter how solid they look.
Remember to check when and where fires are allowed. Ground fires leave scars on the landscape and a mess for the next visitor. Bring a fire pan, or at the very least, use existing fire rings. Wait until your ashes are cool to the touch and pack them out.
A rubber tip prevents your hiking pole from scratching and scarring subtle rock images on the ground.
Many Indigenous peoples consider this landscape sacred, and numerous Tribal Elders ask visitors to view sites from a distance. This small act honors Tribal beliefs and protects cultural resources from the destructive effects of visitation, like erosion.