OIA member company Native Outdoors joined a relay from Bears Ears to Grand Staircase-Escalante for a true boots-on-the-ground survey of the area affected by the recent national monument boundary adjustments. This video shows how important the land is to native communities and their culture but also to outdoorists who recreate there.

February 7, 2018

Photo by Johnie Gall,

Sheyenne Lewis runs because it connects her to the land. Len Necefer runs for the same reason, and also because it connects him to his past, to his ancestors and to a Navajo tradition once essential to life in Southern Utah’s Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante regions.

Navajo runners who used to carry news and stories from one end of a reservation to the other were called messengers. Last month, Len, Sheyenne and 15 other outdoorists ran the 250-mile stretch between these contested national monuments in celebration of their mutual respect of this region. In just over 30 hours and in 6-mile stretches, the team bridged gaps and created partnerships in support of this precious land. And they made a film about it. It is a powerful reminder that everyone who visits or recreates on public land is intricately intertwined with Indigenous history. It’s an opportunity for us to consider and embrace that as we move forward in our quest to protect public lands.

The film is called, simply, “Messengers.”

Photo by Johnie Gall,

Photo by Johnie Gall,







With social media shares by OIA member brands like Outside Magazine, Patagonia, and The Outbound, the compelling nature of advocacy through storytelling proves both powerful and effective.

MESSENGERS – A Running Story of Bears Ears & Grand Staircase-Escalante from Yeehaw Donkey on Vimeo.