Dear Editor,

The Bears Ears is a living, magical, intact landscape of dreams.

From the peaks of the Abajos down to the depths of Cataract Canyon on the Colorado, its intriguing serpentine sandstone canyons are imbued with the power of life undiminished by the machinations of humans.

Far from the cities, yet accessible to those willing to take the time to get here, magic awaits in its diverse ecosystems and sedimentary layers, its labyrinth in stone expanding the actual acreage several fold, surprising marveling travelers with maple and fern glens, ancient towering ponderosa forests, hidden whimsical fortresses tucked into clefts or stacked up in immense, waterstreaked alcoves big enough to house entire communities of ancestral humans. Stunningly beautiful canyons descend through purple and white layers of petrified dunes, artistically awakening the spirit of these buried dunefields as inspiring passageways through a stunningly magnificent storybook landscape.

The land feels rich with meaning and inspires respect and curiosity at every bend. The desert plants and animals here stand out as unique, as if each was crafted and specially placed to fulfill their particular destiny. It is a reassuring land, nurturing love and admiration in our hearts and bringing peace and meaning into our lives.

Native Americans have been here for thousands of years, hunting the rich, forested mountain plateaus in the idyllic summers, comfortable above the scorching deserts, descending to canyon shelters in the mild winters, burning sacred juniper and pinyon in their kivas and painting images of animals, crops, spirits, trapezoidal anthropomorphs and other fantastical creations that defy explanation.

Natives still gather medicinal herbs and hunt here. Ritual gatherings celebrate the gifts of life.

Never before have Native Americans joined with other tribes to propose a national monument to protect their joint heritage. This is not a battlefield or other scene of tragedy, but a fully alive and breathing host of their ancestors, a history book written in the land, still evolving. This is a fitting and potent gift to tribes corralled on reservations and deprived of their hunting grounds for generations.

It is also a gift to all Americans and our descendants, who will no doubt sing the praises of our wisdom and foresight in protecting this beloved place on a scale that truly allows for its beauty and abundance to continue undiminished.

Time is running out. Will Obama act to protect this land, even as Rob Bishop and the forces of short term selfish profiteering sharpen their knives? The choice may be one of choosing protection and notoriety over desecration and dismemberment.

Encourage Obama to act now and fulfill the wishes of 26 tribes and millions of Americans.