Much of the rhetoric Phil Lyman and supporters of ATV destruction of protected
lands are using is from the sovereign citizen movement. It holds that the
federal government has no legitimate power. The highest level of government
people like Cliven Bundy, and apparently Lyman, recognize, is the county level.
(Which from their perspective means a county commissioner has authority over the
federal government.) What these people are claiming reaches far beyond the
episode at the Bundy Ranch or tomorrow's desecration of Recapture. The
sovereign citizens seek to overthrow the government of the United States.
Article: "There are concerns that if the ATV protest riders do cross into
the Recapture Canyon on their ATVs that such open disregard for the BLM’s
ATV ban... could escalate into a standoff between the ATV protestors and the
BLM..."Civil disobedience as a tactic can be powerful and
effective form of protest-- if done right. Part of doing it right is taking the
consequences. Thoreau, Rosa Parks, Dr. King, the Freedom Riders, Mandela, the
Berrigans, Tim de Christopher, etc. all went to jail or prison for their
protests. Resisting the consequences of your actions, especially armed
resistance a la the Bundy militia standoff, sets your cause back and makes lousy
PR. Are the San Juan County protesters willing to be arrested and serve time
for their conscious, intentional lawbreaking?
Dear Woolybruce:These people are not opposed to protecting federal
lands. They are some of the greatest lovers of this land. They don't want
anything bad to happen to it. But, the Great Old Broads are basically a bunch
of old busybodies who don't live in San Juan County but are constantly
trying to interfere there. These ATVers are only local people who don't
want to do anything to harm the land, but just want to be able to access and
enjoy it. The Federal Government needs to learn to respect the feelings and
needs of the local people and not see itself as being the enforcers and
masters.The account of these ATVers damaging the area was greatly
exaggerated. Some guys just did a little improvement of the trail and the Grand
Old Broads pressed charges against them. People came from far and wide to pay
their fine. The whole thing was ridiculous.People need to really
find out the truth before condemning these San Juan locals. they're not
trying to do anything to harm the land. They're just sick of the federal
Washington organized and lead an Army when there was a group of people that
thought they could ignore the newly established Federal Government. Those in
the Whiskey Rebellion felt they fought the War for Independence so they
wouldn't have to pay taxes. Washington had a different opinion and went
and collected the taxes.Protecting Public Lands should be enforced
The BLM has the responsibility to protect the area. Since people can still
access the area on foot or horseback, the BLM has not prevented access. The BLM
is concerned about damage the ATVs can do to a delicate area that should be
preserved. I don't always agree with what the BLM is doing here, but they
are right on this decision.
Dear Stalwart Sentinel: You know absolutely NOTHING about the people in San
Juan County or about their lives. They are NOT under achievers or welfare
recipients. And, believe me, they would be thrilled to have the federal
government leave the county and let them live their lives.
I'm so glad someone brought up the pot hunters case a few years ago. That
is another great example of federal overkill--the Federal Government using a
sledgehammer to kill a gnat.The Feds flew in 150 federal marshals to
arrest a few people with a few artifacts. They burst in their doors, handcuffed
them at gun point, verbally abused them, arrested them and drove them to Moab in
a cage. They were threatened with long prison terms. Three suicides resulted
from this excessive enforcement action. Should these people have
been pot picking on federal lands? No. But, the Feds have forgotten that they
are the servants of the people and not the masters. These people should not have
stolen artifacts if they, in fact, did. But, those artifacts weren't worth
the price of even one human life, let alone three.As a resident of
San Juan County, I can tell you that the Federal Government is excessive and out
of control in its management and enforcement of lands that belong to the people
of this nation.I hope this case gets national publicity and the that
the artifacts case also comes to light as another federal overkill case.
BLM confronting citizens? Where have I heard that before?The
citizens can expect to be confronted by hordes of heavily armed federal agents
complete with armored vehicles and helicopters. When a single cop should suffice
to write tickets.BLM is less concerned about "managing land"
than they are accumulating and exercising power, by force if desired, and making
sure that mere "citizens" are kept in their place, subservient to their
masters from Washington.
nlmike - We the people are the federal government, so if they control the lands,
then the lands belong to us. This publicity stunt is nothing more than
underachieving conservatives, fed up with their underachieving lives, who saw a
racist, tax cheat from Nevada ignore the law and threaten violence against
law-abiding citizens, and now they're trying to live out their own
illusions of grandeur. The entire state of Utah is a welfare state,
you take way more money from that "over reaching (sic)" federal
government than you pay in taxes. Perhaps the ATVs should be confiscated and
used to start paying off all the federal subsidies these San Juan welfare
recipients receive every year from the evil, nasty federal government.
Mr. Lyman is looking to gain his Mike Noel crede. They close the illegal trail
for a reason, to protect resources that belong to all Americans.
I have known Phil Lyman and his family since we attended college together nearly
30 years ago. Not only has he always been an honest, hardworking, and
law-abiding citizen. He is a man who loves America and loves San Juan County.
Over the years I have visited Blanding several times and Commissioner Lyman has
always been respectful, contemplative and even emotional as he has invited me to
enjoy the beauties he was blessed to be born and raised among. I honor men and
women who recognize that people who are employed by an over reaching federal
government need to be reminded that our lands do not belong to the them.
"The illegally constructed road that ATVers constructed in 2005 and 2006
directly impacted 31 archaeological sites, according to Rose Chilcoat, Associate
Director of Great Old Broads for Wilderness."As Martin pointed
out they probably needed easier access for their pot, and grave digging, that
was argued a few years a go, as no big deal, by Blanding locals and other
scofflaws.By the way "Great Old Broads for Wilderness" Love
the name. "The BLM Monticello Field Office already has more than
2,800 miles – an equivalent distance between New York and Los Angeles
– that are open to ATVS and OHVs."@Tuffy these are hardly
highways connecting major cities. So what your saying is "what's 14
more miles of noisey polluting machines tearing up the country and providing
easy access for pothunters."Seriously, won't be happy until
they can drive where ever their vehicles can go.Didn't that
other scoflaw Mike Noel pull a similar stunt a few years back driving down the
Paria, with his gang of rebel ATVer's
Arrest each individual who illegally rides the trail during the protest.
"'People from Blanding are respectful,' Lyman said. 'We care
about the land, including Recapture Canyon, more than anybody else. It’s
part of our heritage and culture.'" Seems to me the history of
federal prosecution of pothunters from San Juan County belies that statement,
and illegal ATV trailbuilding through archaeological sites only compounds that
lie.I certainly would have hoped that an elected governmental official
might understand that this stance weakens the rule of law; what's to stop
someone opposed to this "protest" from holding their own protest by
digging up Commissioner Lyman's front yard with their own ATV? We
need to be talking to each other--including county commissions negotiating with
federal authorities for local access to federal lands. NOT county commissioners
petulantly flouting federal law. What do they hope to accomplish, besides the
feds digging in their heels?
Not sure what the author means by writing, "The proposed ATV road through
Recapture Canyon would be just over 14 miles long and have four access points.
The BLM Monticello Field Office already has more than 2,800 miles – an
equivalent distance between New York and Los Angeles – that are open to
ATVS and OHVs." This sounds like something right out of SUWA talking
points. Does he mean that the 2,800 miles of OHV trail is more than enough? Is
the insinuation that because this road is only 14 miles that it's unneeded?
That's faulty logic. It's like saying that there is a road from LA to
San Francisco so there is no need for any more. What if San Diego is the
intended destination? The BLM needs to get a better handle on what public land
means. Private playgrounds for SUWA et al hardly qualifiy as public land.