Bump in visits prompts BLM to increase hiking fees near Bears Ears

An increase in tourism to Cedar Mesa in Bears Ears National Monument has taken a toll on the cultural resources in the area, according to the Bureau of Land Management, which will double fees to hikers and campers Jan. 1.

According to a report in the Salt Lake Tribune, a family of four would pay $40 for a two-day or more visit.

The fee area has been expanded to include Butler Wash and Comb Ridge in the Shash Jáa unit near Bluff, according to the Tribune.

According to the BLM, “Increased visitation without a commensurate increase in visitor services is resulting in negative impacts to archeological sites, natural resources, and the visitor experience at Cedar Mesa. In order to mitigate potential damage, it is critical to improve the facilities, update signage, and increase the ranger presence at the sites and trailheads.”

According to the Tribune, visitation to Cedar Mesa increased more than 30 percent from 2016, when the Trump administration removed it from Bears Ears protection, to 2017.