Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2019

Document Type


Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors


Environmental Studies

First Advisor

Lydia Lawhon

Second Advisor

Stacey Schulte

Third Advisor

Dale Miller


Bears Ears National Monument is a focal point for controversy over the executive use of the Antiquities Act. Its initial designation in 2016 and subsequent review and downsizing in 2017 are tied to the values of regional and national stakeholders, particularly regarding land and land use, as well as the cultural and political history of San Juan County, Utah. Through content analysis of a sample of public comments submitted to the 2017 National Monument Review, this thesis contextualizes and analyzes the perspectives, land values, and policy preferences of national and local stakeholders including advocacy groups, the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition, residents of San Juan County, and others regarding the proposed alteration of BENM. Among respondents to the National Monument Review, utility/economic valuations of Bears Ears are most commonly presented, but differences in valuations and perspectives exist between different stakeholder groups. Additionally, this thesis investigates the disruptive role form comments and the public comment platform of Regulations.gov play in providing representative feedback on land management plans. The results of this thesis reflect the relationships between stakeholder groups and land values, particularly utility and moral/spiritual values, and support the inclusion of valuation studies in land management decisions.