SALT LAKE CITY — With blustery wind at their backs and hope in their eyes, thousands of Utahns cheered and whistled encouragement to a bevy of speakers who declared it is time to fight federal control over the state's public lands.
"The world is run by people who show up," Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, told the crowd who turned out for Saturday's Take Back Utah Rally at the state Capitol.
The rally capped a parade down State Street that started earlier in the day, featuring all-terrain vehicles, cattle trucks and ordinary Utah residents angling for more access to the state's public lands.
"Colorado has already lost all its rights to lands," said Virginia Lynn Robertson, who with her husband, Lynn, ventured to Salt Lake City from Dolores, Colo., for Saturday's event.
"That's why we are here. We belong to an ATV club that has lost all its rights," Robertson said. "Thankfully, it isn't that bad in Utah yet."
But speakers including Rep. Mike Noel, R-Kanab, and Carbon County Commissioner John Jones warned that could easily change if people do not unite.
"If we stand together, we can make a difference," Jones said, urging people who make their living from ranching, coal mining and farming off public lands to pressure public officials for change.
In its second year, the Take Back Utah event drew about 5,000 participants and is a grass-roots backlash against environmentalists who seek to curb access and what conservatives view as an increasingly hostile Obama administration exerting too much control.
Citing a $3.8 trillion federal budget, House Speaker Dave Clark, R-Santa Clara, said the federal government has turned "ugly and irresponsible" and it is time for America to dismount from a "dead horse."
Flag-waving families spiriting children clapped loudly while the Salt City Saints and Sinners played rousing old-time swing music and T-shirts were tossed to the crowd.
Gov. Gary Herbert addressed rally participants, bringing cheers of support from off-roaders when he told them the "squeaky wheel gets the grease."