ATV protest ride in Recapture Canyon is May 10 at 9 a.m.
May 07, 2014 | 14030 views | 4 4 comments | 82 82 recommendations | email to a friend | print
by David Boyle

The May 10 All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) ride into restricted Recapture Canyon is still moving forward, threatening a collision between local residents and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

The ATV ride is planned by a group of Blanding residents in an attempt to force the BLM to make a decision on who has jurisdiction within the canyon, which is just east of Blanding. Motorized access to the trail has been in dispute since the BLM forced its closure in 2007.

San Juan County Commissioner Phil Lyman, who has planned the ride, does not plan to back down to mounting pressure from the BLM.

In an April 28 letter to Lyman, Lance Porter, the manager of the BLM Canyon Country District Office, wrote that “any motorized use within the area is a prohibited act and violators are subject to civil and criminal penalties.”

The letter adds that the “BLM will seek all appropriate civil and criminal penalties.”

The BLM urged Lyman to cancel the ride and avoid the conflict.

At the May 5 meeting of the San Juan County Commission, Lyman said he felt that the emails are a continuation of the BLM’s stall tactics.

Lyman seems not to be deterred by the letter and said he has a “busy week ahead.”

San Juan County has sought for complete jurisdiction of the trail for the past seven years. A Title V right-of-way application has not been approved or rejected by the BLM. In fact, the lack of progress on the application has led to countywide exasperation on the matter.

In the letter to Lyman, Porter said that the application decision has been delayed due to “unusual situations.” He adds that the BLM is “striving to complete the process as soon as possible.”

Porter said that “the proposed ride will very likely hinder and possibly delay our ability to complete this process.”

Lyman said he is especially frustrated about the BLM claim that the Recapture Canyon trail was built recently. “The BLM rulings on the trail are hard to accept when you know it’s been there for so long,” said Lyman.

San Juan County Sheriff Rick Eldredge and his department are preparing to attend the event to provide crowd control. Eldredge plans to ride along the trail on his horse, along with his deputies.

“We have no idea on the numbers (of protestors),” said Eldredge. “My job is to keep the peace.”

Eldredge asks that ATV riders keep this a “peaceful protest.” Eldredge said he is not worried about the potential of violence at the protest.

The conflict is receiving more and more attention due in part to recent events at the Bundy Ranch near Mesquite, NV. The conflict in Nevada, regarding grazing rights on BLM land, led to hundreds of angry citizens converging on the ranch to take a stand against what they call an intrusive federal government.

Whether the Recapture Canyon ride will receive the same support is not yet clear. Lyman originally planned the event locally, previous to the Bundy Ranch incidents, but has since invited participation from across the U.S.

ATV groups have expressed willingness to invite members to attend the rally, and additional invites via social media have the potential for many non-local protestors to show up.

Because of the potential for a showdown similar to Nevada, media outlets have picked up the story.

Additionally, environmental groups and other supporters of the closure may show up to protest the ATV ride.

The ATV ride is planned for May 10 at 9 a.m.
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May 10, 2014
An open letter to Phil Lyman


Your plan to ride ATVs through known archaeological sites is reprehensible. While you declare this ride in the name of freedom, in fact it is a freedom limited to a small percentage of the public with only their self-interest in mind. The resources within this canyon bear witness to cultural groups that have inhabited the area far longer than the focus group you are representing and should be left undisturbed. While I can agree with the premise of free access to travel on public lands you must keep in mind that there is a delicate balance where your freedom, will and desire does not impinge on my freedom, will and desire. That balance is known as law and regardless of whether you agree or disagree, it is how we as a people have elected to live in this country in a mutual contract, so while you espouse that you are protesting against an unfair government ruling, you are in fact unilaterally denying any private citizen that disagrees with your position and abides by that contract a say in the matter. As this will take place on public land, I am a stakeholder in the outcome of your action and I wholeheartedly disagree with what you are about to do and I consider it to be a criminal action, with real flesh and blood victims. It has been my professional responsibility and honor to protect these endangered sites for over 15 years and your protest is akin to vandalizing a cemetery. Those founding patriots with whom you have aligned yourself were willing to take responsibility for their actions, are you? I suggest that you be held personally responsible and prosecuted to the full extent of the law for any damage incurred.

May 09, 2014
I live in Cedar City and recently wrote an editorial to the Iron County Today about the extremely unreasonable regulations by unelected officials at the BLM concerning public lands. I fully support the ATV ride into the canyon and hope that this will not lead to an armed confrontation by the BLM. However, for all the Ghandi and non violent advocates, the USA and its constitution would not exist today had the revolutionaries adopted a non violent approach.
May 07, 2014
Read this: Cliven Bundy too Scared to Step Foot off Ranch - hmmm ... Fear of Arrest?
May 08, 2014
That's nonsense. I was just at the ranch this past weekend and he left his property on a couple of occasions. That article is nothing more than propaganda.
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