This is not the way to deal with local government. Ultimately, we have a government of the people. Our BLM area manager, Lance Porter, told me in a meeting in February that the BLM could be delayed indefinitely by outside interest groups willing to sue. I said that this showed a lack of genuine authority and leadership on the part of the BLM. When he acknowledged my frustration by saying “unfortunately you have no other options,” I responded, “People always have options.”
Federal regulations state very clearly that the BLM is obligated to give "cooperation" status to local governments in determining the use of public lands. The statute explains this cooperation status as such: the BLM must keep apprised of local plans for land use inventory, planning, and management; meaningful involvement must be assured for local government officials in planning, development, and revision councils; and, should inconsistencies arise, they are to be resolved with preference for local plans. In short, the BLM is supposed to give priority first to local interest and county master land use plans and then let public opinion weigh in. So, while public lands are available to all, there is a legal priority guaranteed to locals in determining land use.
Recapture Canyon is the canyon closest to Blanding. It is the canyon with the most history related to the founders of Blanding and Monticello. It is of deep significance, and there is more that needs to be said. Those who are willing to look past the rhetoric and misinformation about Recapture Canyon will find the truth.
Phil Lyman is the San Juan County commissioner.