by Joe B. Lyman
(Editor’s note: This is the second of a three-part series in which Joe B. Lyman outlines his view of issues surrounding the Recapture Canyon protest.
Last week, Joe discussed archaeology, breaking the law, conspiracy, and classifying the protest as an ATV rally.)
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.
Trail Construction: The Recapture Canyon roads and trails have existed for decades and even centuries. My earliest personal recollection of the closed trail was leading a group of scouts through the canyon when I was 13 years old in 1974.
The assertion by the BLM that two local residents built the trail in 2005 or any other time is pure fabrication. This fabrication has become the great lie at the root of all other lies that have led to the closure of the trail.
The true history of this road and trail is easy to prove. There are hundreds of witnesses. How can anyone call themselves a reporter and not dispute the BLM claim that the trail was built in 2005 or any other recent year?
The BLM is working with the County: Absolutely False. The BLM has worked directly in opposition to the County and Blanding City. This is in direct violation of the BLM’s own rules which clearly state that they are to comply with local planning.
Not only does the BLM not place local planning preeminent, they exclude local governments from the planning process while catering to the demands of activist groups from outside the area.
Why was the Alliance for a Better Utah given notice of charges against The Five before those charged received the notice? This goes to illustrate the BLM being complicit with these activist groups.
If there is a conspiracy, it is the between the BLM and their cohorts.
There are 2,800 miles of ATV trails in San Juan County: Actually, most of what they claim are trails in this statement are ROADS, not trails. At the previous ATV Rally in Monticello some years ago, a BLM officer who spoke to the group expressed her true sentiment when she said something to the effect that, “We (the BLM) have given you xxxx miles of trails… “
Wow! The BLM believes they have GIVEN us roads and trails? Some few years ago, the County was OPEN, not just all of the roads and trails but most all of the land in the County. Now all but a few trails are closed.
These last remaining trails are not a gift from the BLM, they are a remnant of what has been lost and even those are still under constant attack.
The closure in question was legal: The BLM is in violation of numerous rules, if not actual laws as well. They are authorized to temporarily close a road, for emergencies… after consulting with County officials, that should last no more than 60 days, and in 24 months the declaration expires.
So the original closure was illegal, not to mention the continued closure. So the question again is, how can you be cited for riding on a closed road that was illegally closed?
Furthermore, BLM IM 2010-028 provides guidance to BLM employees who execute a closure claiming a considerable adverse effect under 43 C.F.R. 8341.2.
It states: “In most circumstances, managers are aware of OHV problems well in advance of confronting a ‘considerable adverse effect’, and can either take timely actions to reduce the impacts of OHV use or conduct a NEPA analysis with public participation before implementing a closure and restriction.”
How did a joint project between the BLM, the City of Blanding, the local trail group, and San Juan County, and which had been in process for more than two years, instantly rise to the level of an emergency closure?
It is inconsistent with the spirit and the letter of BLM’s rules. Recapture was simply taken hostage by nefarious wilderness advocacy groups using the BLM as a credulous tool.
The story in Recapture encapsulates so much of what is wrong with big oppressive government.
More on big oppressive government next week.