Connor Boyack, president of the Libertas Institute, said he doesn't believe there are any laws to break.
"This is not the law. There is no law mandating the shutdown. This is an action," he said.
In a poll of 500 Utahns the institute conducted Monday, 48 percent of respondents said they support civil disobedience to enter closed national parks, while 41 percent said they oppose it.
Boyack said he applauds efforts like the one in San Juan County to reopen federal recreation areas to the public.
University of Utah law professor and former federal judge Paul Cassell said counties can't take over federal property.
"Action like that would be well-intentioned but illegal," he said. "While this may be frustrating to everyone that the lake is just a few yards away and could be opened seemingly with no difficulty, that's a decision for the federal government and not for state or local governments."
Carl Graham, director of the Sutherland Institute's Center for Self-Government in the West, said federal and state government have moved from a partnership to an adversarial relationship. It has gone into a "ruled and ruler" mode, he said.
Graham said it wouldn't be a big deal for the state and counties to provide basic services on what are open lands.
"You don’t need adult supervision to enjoy these attractions," he said.
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