“Monolith” in Lockhart Basin removed after three days of visitors

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) confirmed during a site visit that an unknown party or parties removed the illegally installed structure referred to as the “monolith” sometime on the evening of Friday, Novemer 27.

The BLM did not remove the structure, which had been recently discovered on public lands in the Monticello Field Office. Over the course of Thanksgiving week, a relatively large number of people visited the site, which has not been developed for heavy visitation. 

Grand County resident Andy Lewis who owns Base Jump Moab is claiming to have been among the people who removed the metal monolith on Friday.

Lewis posted online video of four people using a wheelbarrow to remove the broken down structure.

Photogropher Ross Bernards says he was at the monolith around 9:00 on on Friday evening when four men came around the corner and two began pushing on the monolith.

Bernards says one of them told him, “you better have got your pictures.”

The men were able to push the monolith over reportedly saying, “this is why you don’t leave trash in the desert.”

The four men pushed the structure over and then began to break it apart and place it in a wheelbarrow before looking at the photographer and his group and saying, “leave no trace.”

The structure received national and international interest and sparked a dialogue regarding who installed it and what it symbolized, generating widespread attention.

The BLM received both positive and negative input regarding the status of the structure and was investigating who installed it when a person or group removed it.

Any development on public lands must be approved by the BLM and is subject to applicable laws, such as the Federal Land Policy and Management Act and the National Environmental Policy Act. 

“We recognize the incredible interest the ‘monolith’ has generated world-wide,” said Monticello Field Manager Amber Denton Johnson. “Many people have been enjoying the mystery and view it as a welcome distraction from the 2020 news cycle.  

“Even so, it was installed without authorization on public lands, and the site is in a remote area without services for the large number of people who now want to see it.

“Whenever you visit public lands, please follow Leave No Trace principles and Federal and local laws and guidance.” 

Visitors who flocked to the site parked on vegetation and left behind human waste as evidence of their visit. The undeveloped area does not have restrooms or a parking lot.

The BLM recommends that visitors not attempt to visit the site, which has no cell service and requires high clearance vehicles; passenger vehicles have already been towed from the area.

The BLM reminds the public that driving off designated roads and trails in the Monticello Field Office is illegal. 

The Monticello Field Office has a number of remarkable places to explore that have been developed for visitation.

For more information visit: www.blm.gov/office/monticello-field-office. We ask the public to please use Leave No Trace TM principles when visiting public lands. 

For additional information, please contact the Monticello Field Office at 435-587-1500 or by email at blm_ut_mt_mail@blm.gov.

Persons who use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Relay Service (FRS) at 1-800-877-8339 to leave a message or question with the above individual. The FRS is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Replies are provided during normal business hours.

San Juan Record

49 South Main St
PO Box 879
Monticello, UT 84535

Phone: 435.587.2277
Fax: 435.587.3377
Open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday