by Joe B. Lyman
Prevailing media reports on Recapture Canyon all regurgitate the same misinformation and outright lies that have been perpetrated by activist environmentalists and the BLM.
In order for readers to get the other side of this story I will present a summary of several myths about Recapture. This is part one of three parts.
Archaeology; Archaeology is the current weapon of choice by those who seek to deny access. While no right thinking person condones wanton destruction of archaeology sites the truth of what is going on is much different than what we are being told.
Recapture Canyon has been a major thoroughfare for centuries and despite recent history of cattle ranching, mining, oil exploration, recreation and so on the sites remain. Part of the road that was ‘closed temporarily’ nearly 8 years ago is actually a county road and right of way for a pipeline that was put in along with the dam construction in the 80s.
No Canyon in Utah has had more archaeology analysis than Recapture Canyon. Every visitor to Blanding drives through Recapture Canyon on the dam completed in 1985. The placer mining which was permitted underwent a significant archaeological clearance. When the road was realigned in the 1990’s additional clearances were performed.
If all it takes to completely shut down a community is to cry archaeology, then every acre of Utah is at the mercy of outside wilderness enterprises whose business model thrives on emotion, fed by lies.
Breaking the Law; All the clamor about the recent protest ride is over the lawbreakers riding the trail. In reality, the authority of the BLM to close the road at all is in question.
What is not in question is whether they have violated numbers of their own rules. The BLM is clearly in violation of a number of laws and rules. So how can it be illegal to ride a trail closed illegally?
Phil Lyman is a County Commissioner, elected by the people of San Juan County to safeguard their health, safety, culture, and general welfare. His willingness to stand up to a clear violation on the part of the BLM of their own laws and rules, is not a criminal action.
The protest held on May 9th and 10th did not violate any laws. The BLM, the Highway Patrol, the Sheriff, the media, and the public were all invited to express their frustration with a federal agency that has placed themselves above the law, above the County, and above the people who are peaceably trying to exist here.
Conspiracy; The charges against The Five include conspiracy, which is a secret plan by a group to do something unlawful or harmful. The idea for the ride came about in public meetings and was advertised to any and all with special invitation to BLM officers and nothing was harmed. The charge of conspiracy is therefore groundless.
This was an ATV Rally; Not really. Although ATV enthusiasts are understandably concerned about the actions of the BLM in recent years the rally was about a continued pattern of abusive behavior by the BLM toward local citizens including a history of heavily armed raids.
The fact that this road was closed temporarily over eight years ago has brought these issues into focus in Recapture Canyon but it is not the story, just a part of it.
The story in Recapture encapsulates so much of what is wrong with big oppressive government.
More on big oppressive government next week.