These are decent respectful people who have no desire to damage any artifacts or
cause any controversy. They're just sick of the Federal Government
constantly encroaching and stepping on them.
Open letter to Phil LymanSir Your ride through known archaeological
sites is reprehensible. This freedom ride is limited to a small group with their
own self-interest in mind. I agree with the premise of free access to travel on
public lands, but there is a delicate balance where your freedom, will and
desire should not impinge on my freedom, will and desire. That balance is known
as law, 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 unilaterally denying any private citizen that
disagrees with your position and abides by that contract a say in the matter. I
wholeheartedly disagree with it and I consider it to be a criminal action, with
real flesh and blood victims. 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 prosecuted to
the full extent of the law for any damage incurred.
Another example of why the biggest mistake Utah made was joining the Union. And
the greater mistake was the Union accepting them!
Article: "Six years later, it is a San Juan County commissioner who
organized an illegal ATV ride to vent their frustration over what isn't
happening — access."Not entirely true. The canyon is
already perfectly legally accessible on foot or horseback. The dispute is only
over motorized vehicle access.Commissioner Lyman is to be commended
for calling for restraint and a scaled back legal protest. Too bad some did not
heed his call.
GaryO from Virginia, your comments read like someone who is from Virginia and is
totally uneducated about issues in Utah or the West. Do you even know any
people who ride ATVs? Go back and study the History of the West since you are
from the East and obviously know nothing of what you speak. You are right about
one thing though. Those of us who were born and raised here in the West are
sick and tired of transplanted Easterners, like yourself and the BLM and Forest
Service employees, coming out here to the West and ruining our lands with your
pro environmentalist views that only allows hikers to visit lands we have grown
up on. Please keep your views about land use back where you live in the East
and let us Utahns take care of our own lands.
If the land is privatized, expect restrictions to be worse. Look no further than
Park City that has been bought, paved, and turned into cookie cutter condos and
third homes for folks that visit twice a year. The trails that used to be biked
and hiked 25 years ago are now on private property and inaccessible. I hope the
Feds keep the land, otherwise it will go to the highest bidder and we will all
lose. It might not be immediate, but give it a couple of generations and access
I would look for this story to be picked up by national news organizations,
including magazines, and the people of Blanding are not going to look very
good.The history of looting archeological artifacts by Blanding
residents is well documented, and their cultural conflicts with Native Americans
in that corner of the state has a very long history.This county
commissioner will regret leading this ride.
Upson Downs, you are the one who doesn't understand the history of the
West.The federal government has owned these lands ever since the
Mexican War, we explicitly "forever disclaimed any right and title to"
these lands in our State Constitution, and in many cases *we pled with the feds
to actively administer the lands after private and state administration had
proved disastrous.* For instance, the Manti Forest Reserve was created by
(Republican) Teddy Roosevelt in response to (Republican) Senator George
Sutherland's campaign on behalf of petitioners in Sanpete County who found
that when their fellow citizens totally denuded the mountains, horrific
mudslides and cholera-contaminated municipal water were the result.We aren't a fledgling state now like we were in 1903, but attitudes like
yours and Commissioner Lyman's tell me we still aren't ready to
administer lands wisely.These lands belong to GaryO just as much as
to you. GaryO and his Virginia compatriots don't get to decide what happens
to Shenandoah without your input any more than you get to decide what happens to
Recapture Canyon without their input. Both areas are the heritage of all
The Hooliganism needs to stop. Just because you don't like a particular
law, the line forms to the left. But breaking laws is absolutely nuts, and Phil
Lyman should be ashamed and seen this coming. You can't continue to spew
hate and believe there aren't any ramifications.
Less a public lands battle and more of a slow acting Federal government. A
decision should have been made by now, it's long overdue. However getting
the public angry over trespassing will not force a decision.Utah's public land battle is more about private ownership vs. public
ownership, and locking up our wide open spaces.
Basically what Utahns want is the right to do with "Utah Public Lands"
as Utahns see fit. We are tired of people who aren't connected to the land
like we are telling us what we can and cannot do. I do not suppose to assume
someone has zero ties to anything without speeking with them first. I will state
I have often been covered in Utah's red sand, waded through cold mountain
creeks, climbed the canyon rocks, hit my brakes for passing deer and have looked
into yellow eyes after hearing the piercing scream of a cougar. These are the
things that a true Utahn should treasure, not some machine. Nature was meant to
be discovered on foot, where you can notice the sun hit the quartz on a rock or
smell the dew as the sun climbs up the hill. My point is that we must remember
what we are actually trying to pass on to future Utahns and worry less about
those people we don't think should have a say. Ultimately we live here and
are the actual stewards of the land, it's our responsibility.
Most of these negative comments about the protest and the people are from
out-of-staters and people who have no idea whatsoever about what goes on in San
Juan County. These federal actions don't effect their lives one iota.This is about federal over reach and excessive enforcement by
bureaucrats in most cases--not elected officials. The trail was open and
bureaucrats cut it off. Cutting off this trail to ATVs does NOTHING to protect
artifacts and the ATVers didn't damage any artifacts. (In fact, they
mostly work very closely with the BLM to protect sites. They're
responsible, respectful people.) It's just an arbitrary action by federal
bureaucrats.And... I'm so glad someone brought up the
antiquities case of a few years ago. That was another example of federal
overkill--a sledgehammer to kill a gnat. Three suicides resulted and the whole
thing was grossly mishandled by the feds. It was a tragedy that didn't
need to happen.These people were mostly respectful and law abiding.
They have a right to have their voices heard.
Not even accurate to say that ATV riding is illegal here. There are numerous
trails around Recapture Canyon that are perfectly legal for ATV riding or any
other such activity. The restrictions were implemented to protect sensitive
areas. But to some, any restriction is a challenge. What freedom gives us
license to rampage over public lands and ruin them for everyone? Are there not
enough places already designated for such use to satisfy everyone?Presumably the fines will be in the mail for those who would live like they
can ignore these rules. Because some apparently now approach the attitude where
even sensible laws represent "repressive government".
This type of behavior is ridiculous, let alone illegal. It's galling that
these people and the Cliven Bundy's of the world wrap themselves in the
flag while flaunting the very laws of the country the flag represents. There are
thousands of miles of ATV trails in Utah that these folks and others can ride.
Perhaps they wouldn't trash the historic sites on the trails in question,
but it's a lead pipe cinch someone eventually would. Witness the Goblin
Valley rock topplers. Obey the law of the land, folks.
It is appropriate for the citizens of Utah to have this debate, but the Federal
Government should have no say. The Constitution specifies what the Federal
Government can own as it pertains to lands. The land in question does not fall
under that definition and as such, should be owned or controlled by the state or
by private owners. The BLM is out of line.
@GaryO, Isn't interesting that the federal government ownes
anyware from 25% to 80% of western states and never relinquished control to the
states and private ownership? Many people outside the west say that these lands
are "all of our lands." Well, what about the lands in Virginia? Surely
they are all of our lands, too. In fact, those lands in Virginia, the crisp
green foilage, dense deciduous forests, are like an oasis to someone like me who
has grown up in Utah, where the forests and landscape are beautiful, too, but
different than those on the East Coast. Why is Virginia not 67% owned by the
government? I think there are a lot of animals and history to protect all across
America. Given the increasing arbitrariness of our people in power in
government, let's take protection to the next level by confiscating at
least 50% of Virginia land from the the state and private owners there, to
preserve them, so that all Americans can enjoy the forests of the East. I like
hiking the outdoors, and wish to hike unhindered throughout the whole East, in
forested areas. I ought to be able to do so because I am American.
I am a Westerner by birth and have spent well over half of my life living in
Utah. I disagree with the actions of these people. You are breaking the law by
riding your vehicles into lands that have been set aside for enjoyment by all.
I don't get to break a law just because I happen to disagree with it.
Neither do you. It would be different if the vast majority of Westerners shared
your viewpoint but we don't. This is government by the people and for the
people and you are treading on my rights!
It is really a shame that a small band of inconsiderate people can ride ruff
shod over sensitive archeological areas. These people are raising
awareness, but unfortunately that awareness is shining the spot light on their
own irresponsible behavior.Another expample of the new
"conservative sense of entitlement".
It is time for the people of southern Utah to realize that those public lands
are not solely THEIR lands, those lands belong to us all. But keep protesting
and damaging archaeological sites. I'm sure that with such a record and
attitude there is no way that the people of this nation will ever allow the
state of Utah to gain control of one square inch of those lands.
If you look into the whole thing, and as the BLM said, there are 2,800 miles of
park land ATV's can travel, all within a very very short distance from the
town, yet that isn't enough, they want to be able to drive through and
destroy sensitive areas. ATV's don't just travel lightly, they dig
into the trail, creating ruts and deep cuts that hamper hikers and others, and
many of them don't even stay on the trail, one of the reasons they were
banned from that area in the first place. Some areas in our park systems are
very sensitive to damage, and ATV's do a lot of damage, not only to the
trails, but to plants and sensitive areas. There is proof all over this country
to prove what I say, even where I live their are sensitive sand dunes that
protect the coast, ATV's try to use them all the time, but the park service
and county governments work hard to stop them.
Cats,The antiquities case was not overkill. Generations of Utahans
have acknowledged that they illegally made money from antiquities stolen from
public lands. In some cases entire sites have been damaged and even destroyed,
burial sites have been desecrated. If tomb robbers destroyed the graves and
were offering the remains and personal effects of famous Utah pioneers for sale
on the internet, there would be an outcry demanding the return of those
materials and many of those same people in southern Utah would be demanding
legal prosecution of those who were involved. What is the
difference between Native American remains and Caucasian remains? If the people
of southern Utah get to choose which laws they can violate, does law have any
meaning at all? The proper place to protest this is in the state legislature,
the courts and in the halls of Congress. And in the meantime, obey the law.
The federal bully is constantly enforcing policies that are unnecessary and
overly broad. See "Cat's" comments. For you liberals it's
like catching dolphins with the tuna. Federal employees who understand this
should get some backbone, speak up and refuse to enforce overly-broad policies.
Years ago I wrote a letter to the editor to the Binghmaton Times of New York,
addressed to the constituents of Maurice Hinchey who was sponsoring wilderness
designation for Utah wilderness. I asked them to ask him, "Well, if the
lands belong to all Americans, who does the poverty belong to when 98% of the
land in a county is owned by the federal government and sawmills, etc are
closing down." The answer, was, of course, the land belogs to all
Americans. The poverty belongs to the people of Southern Utah.
They were carrying flags with the slogan, "Don't Tread On Me?"
Hilarious and oblivious. Photos I have seen show numerous ATVs treading off of
the main trail.
As someone who grew up in Blanding, there is so much of the context of this
situation that people are missing:1. While 60% of Utah is owned or under
the control of the federal government, approximately 90% of San Juan County is
under federal control. Yes, only 10% of land in Blanding and the greater San
Juan County area is private.2. Recapture Canyon is not some far away,
remote place. The area in question is only 1-2 miles from Blanding in most
spots.3. This is an area that people in San Juan County have been using
for generations for walking, hiking, horseback riding, and yes, sometimes using
for motorcycles, ATVs and other motorized vehicles.4. The average resident
of the area knows the special nature of the area that we have and acts as a good
steward of the Anasazi ruins that are literally everywhere in this region.5. Again, given that 90% of the land is under federal control, this even was
to raise awareness of the BLM's lack of responsiveness to the concerns of
the people of Blanding.6. Finally, I know Phil Lyman and his family. He is
simply working to represent the legitimate freedoms and rights of the local
It is sad for me to see people break he law to seek public acceptance of their
disagreement with our government. It is sadder still for me that
they would use the American flag to justify their actions against the American
government. It is even sadder to me when they bring children into
their disagreement with the government and voice of the people.Public lands as the name implies belong to all the people of America, not just
the people of the county and state where they are located. The public is
allowed to use public areas for personal use on a temporary basis so long as
they do not injure the public area. Even though they are part of the owners of
the public area they are not allowed to use the public area as if it were their
own private property.
There is total misunderstanding of motor vehicle use in Recapture Canyon. This
trail in question has been a legal motor vehicle used trail for decades, long
before ATVs. For reasons poorly explained by the local BLM office, BLM
temporarily closed the trail. This closure was made in Spet. 2007. The RMP for
this area includes Recapture Canyon trail as open for ATVs. So, the key word
here is temporary. BLM has fiddled around with the closure for 7+ years now and
that is way too long to put in place the changes that they think need to be
made. It was not intended for this trail to be closed, not in the RMP and not
by the temporary closure order. The BLM is, and has been for decades, extremely
slow in follow through. There is reason locals do not trust the BLM, or the
feds in general.To 'Cats', the antiquities case was poorly
managed by the feds. There was absolutely no justification for the number of law
enforcement officers carrying automatic weapons that were part of the raids.
These raids were handled extremely poorly. It was overkill and could have been
done in a much more civil manner.
The Feds broke Indians treaties, broke State treaties, and broke Cliven. The Feds promised States who joined title to their lands. BLM manages
60 million acres rightfully owned by Utah.Civil dis-obedience
created America. George Washington refused to pay his taxes to the King
(England's IRS) - disobeyed the "rule of law." Had he obeyed,
perhaps we'd all be English.Turtles and Cattle have lived
together before the US was created.BLM could have created a hybrid
turtle mitigation area (Bundyville) to receive the displaced turtles from
Harry's Chinese solar power play. No US citizens pointing guns at US
citizens was needed. Lucky it's an election year, or Cliven would be
dead.The Chinese would gladly subsidize the 52 disenfranchised
cattle ranchers for project approval. The Chinese get land for their
solar farm. Harry's get "non-money" from the Chinese for getting
it done. Bundy and his 52 cattle ranching neighbors get to keep ranching. The
turtles get cow poop to eat. We get cheaper red meat for the BQ.Who
declared - "Turtles and Cattle can't be on the same land" - the
cause of Bundyville fiasco. Why can't the Fed/BLM be honest?
The people of Blanding, Utah should have more say about what happens in their
immediate area than someone from New York or California, for example. Law is
supposed to be made by state legislatures and our national congress not by a
federal employee. The power that the BLM now has over our lives is a far cry
from what the founding fathers envisioned. I think the federal lands should be
given to Utah and other western states just as it was given to the eastern
states at statehood. I am very happy that Commissioner Lyman stood up to the
extremists on both the right and left. The BLM seems to be more cognizant of
the pressure from outside environmental groups than the wishes of local folks.
If the BLM would cooperate, we would provide the labor to reroute the Recapture
trail to avoid sensitive areas. You can not tell me that a heavy horse track on
a sensitive area does less damage than a rubber tire.
It must be nice living in states where very little land is owned and controlled
by the federal government. Enjoy your freedom. Try living in a state like Utah
where almost 80% of the land is owned and controlled by the Feds. You would
probably protest too.
Dutchman, pretty tough time you have in Utah, huh? You have many run ins with
the Feds there in Murray? Please.
So you hate the Federal Government yet you carry a US flag? How odd.
Interesting: Rosa Parks stood up to local/state racially-biased laws that were
ultimately rejected and overturned by the federal government. Those racially
biased laws caused great harm to individuals and families throughout the
country, and especially in the south. Local governance was actually the source
of harm. The BLM regulations, which are authorized by the Congress of the
United States, are intended to stop harm to antiquities sites in response to
actual, documented damages to those sites. In the case of Recapture Canyon,
local authorities did not step in and stop the damage. In fact, local
authorities appear to support it. The BLM is simply responding to damaging
behavior and activities by a small, local minority, just as the federal
government responded to racial segregation laws in the 1950's and
1960's. I support the BLM's position.
I think the bottom line here is that people in the West are just fed up with the
Federal Government telling them what to do. It's more than just a problem
with lands, which by the way, the State of Utah could govern a whole lot better
than bureaucrats in Washington and their "local" subordinates. It has to
do with many facets of life, including education. We pay people back in
Washington to tell us how to run our schools when those decisions can be better
made here at the local level. Federal officials with little understanding of the
local situation are quick to try to shove their policies down our throats, but
are slow to respond to our concerns.
"I think the bottom line here is that people in the West are just fed up
with the Federal Government telling them what to do."No, dpal,
you don't get to speak for the people of the West. It is good
that the Feds own these lands. We see what local control of these lands would
looks like. These lands do not belong just to you, or me. They belong to all of
It is so interesting when someone declares with certainty what the Founding
Fathers of the 1700's envisioned for our country in 2014. I personally
believe (I may be wrong) that men like George Washington and Benjamin Franklin
hoped most of all for a unified nation of progressive, accountable, intelligent
citizens - citizens that would be willing to bend their own interests to the
common good of the nation, to acknowledge that freedom is not "doing
whatever suits me," and to be committed to the rule of law. Those are some
of my interpretations of the founding documents, but I am always willing to
consult their writings to learn more and test my interpretations.
Intentional violation of the law as admitted by Bundy is a criminal offense. All
that followed him should follow him to jail.