With A Little Inspiration From My…

Trail running touches many aspects of our lives. There’s our health, our community, and our natural world. Today, my thoughts focus firmly on the natural world as speculation has abruptly shifted to reality with the Trump administration announcing its attempt to slash the size of Bears Ears National Monument, which sits just a couple hours of running from my home. Now, I could sit here in my office and wallow in defeat, but I refuse to do that. Just as when a race gets tough, it’s time to keep pushing forward.

Personally, I’m psyched to have shared the story of my early autumn run to and through Bears Ears NM via the Sierra Club. I’m also stoked to have raised some funds for some of the many organizations leading the fight to protect Bears Ears NM. (Can you give a little?) In the future, I hope to further share the story of my trip both here on iRunFar and elsewhere in hopes of inspiring support of protecting the monument’s amazing cultural and natural resources. However, at the moment, I’d like to draw attention to a couple folks from the trail running world who’ve inspired me to take the action that I have.

Thank you, Luke Nelson, for being an educator and champion for the natural world, both through written storytelling and through in-person talks. I was proud when Luke let us publish the story of his spring visit to Bears Ears and look forward to what he shares via social media (Twitter/Instagram/Facebook). Just this week, I’ve been able to follow along with the Bears Ears protests in Salt Lake City via Luke.

While she’s relatively new to the spotlight, Clare Gallagher holds nothing back in fiercely fighting for the world around her. She’s always sharing important environmental and conservation issues on social media (Twitter/Instagram/Facebook) and, almost as often, how folks like you and I can engage positively on those topics. She also speaks to her own shortcomings, such as recently noting her intent to train closer to home next year. Through it all, Clare speaks her mind. That bravery is also leadership.

Although it’s been some years since she worked there, I’ll always associate Krissy Moehl with her time working at the Conservation Alliance, an outdoor-industry-backed non-profit that supports land conservation on local and broad scales. Today, she continues to advance this ethic through her adventures as a Patagonia athlete, such as the Mile for Mile expedition in Argentina, where she was joined by Jeff Browning and, unsurprisingly, Luke.

Luke, Clare, and Krissy are but a trio of conservation advocates in our midst who leap out in my mind. There are many more out there. I’d love to know which trail runners inspire you on this front, whether locally or globally.

I’ll leave you with some images from the public lands that inspire me around my southern Utah home.

Courthouse Wash, Arches National Park

Behind the Rocks (BLM, foreground) and the La Sal Mountains (Manti-La Sal National Forest, background)

Dark Canyon Wilderness Area, Bears Ears National Monument

Lavender Canyon, Canyonlands National Park

Kane Gulch, Bears Ears National Monument

Behind the Rocks (BLM, foreground) and the La Sal Mountains (Manti-La Sal National Forest, background)

Lavender Creek, Bears Ears National Monument

Medicine Lake, Manti-La Sal National Forest

Bears Ears National Monument

Posey Canyon, Bears Ears National Monument

Bryon Powell: is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of iRunFar.com. Having spent nearly 20 years as an ultrarunner and three decades as a trail runner, he's also written Relentless Forward Progress: A Guide to Running Ultramarathons and co-wrote Where the Road Ends: A Guide to Trail Running. He calls Silverton, Colorado and Moab, Utah home.

View Comments (9)

  • Awesome photos!

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  • Byron,

    I plead ignorance and want to gain a better understanding of this. The land President Trump takes away from Bears Ears goes to whom? If it goes to private citizens then I think this is bad. However, if it goes to the State then it would seem to me that the citizens of the State would be more likely to influence their State Legislature as to the future of Bears Ears than if it were owned by the U.S. Government. What am I missing?

    Henry

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    • The land remains federal (for now), but it loses protections from mining, off-road vehicle use, oil and gas drilling, and other activities that could damage the historic, cultural, and scientific objects that were the basis for the national monument designation.

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      • Except that many of the best parts were designated as wilderness anyway, and I assume will revert to wilderness with the downsizing of the monument boundaries. Wilderness arguably provides a higher level of protection than monument status.

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  • Dylan Bowman seems to be doing some really amazing conservation outreach, and there's https://www.runwild.live/

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  • Photos are stunning. Absolutely stunning. Nice.

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  • I would have thought Dakota Jones, who often writes about these issues on IRunFar, would have been mentioned?

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  • Amazing photos. Thank you for sharing.
    I find Joe Grant's adventures to be pretty inspiring - covering the Colorado 14ers under human power - resource conservation by driving less.

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  • Stunning photos!

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