Comments about ‘Illegal ATV ride in Utah showcases public lands battle’

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Published: Saturday, May 10 2014 6:00 p.m. MDT

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Somewhere in Time, UT

These are decent respectful people who have no desire to damage any artifacts or cause any controversy. They're just sick of the Federal Government constantly encroaching and stepping on them.

mariposa, CA

Open letter to Phil Lyman
Your ride through known archaeological sites is reprehensible. This freedom ride is limited to a small group with their own self-interest in mind. I agree with the premise of free access to travel on public lands, but there is a delicate balance where your freedom, will and desire should not impinge on my freedom, will and desire. That balance is known as law, it is how we as a people have elected to live in this country in a mutual contract. so while you espouse that you are protesting against an unfair government ruling, you are unilaterally denying any private citizen that disagrees with your position and abides by that contract a say in the matter. I wholeheartedly disagree with it and I consider it to be a criminal action, with real flesh and blood victims. Your protest is akin to vandalizing a cemetery. Those founding patriots with whom you have aligned yourself were willing to take responsibility for their actions, are you? I suggest that you be prosecuted to the full extent of the law for any damage incurred.

Blaine, WA

Another example of why the biggest mistake Utah made was joining the Union. And the greater mistake was the Union accepting them!

Salt Lake City, UT

Article: "Six years later, it is a San Juan County commissioner who organized an illegal ATV ride to vent their frustration over what isn't happening — access."

Not entirely true. The canyon is already perfectly legally accessible on foot or horseback. The dispute is only over motorized vehicle access.

Commissioner Lyman is to be commended for calling for restraint and a scaled back legal protest. Too bad some did not heed his call.

Upson Downs
Sandy, UT

GaryO from Virginia, your comments read like someone who is from Virginia and is totally uneducated about issues in Utah or the West. Do you even know any people who ride ATVs? Go back and study the History of the West since you are from the East and obviously know nothing of what you speak. You are right about one thing though. Those of us who were born and raised here in the West are sick and tired of transplanted Easterners, like yourself and the BLM and Forest Service employees, coming out here to the West and ruining our lands with your pro environmentalist views that only allows hikers to visit lands we have grown up on. Please keep your views about land use back where you live in the East and let us Utahns take care of our own lands.

Brooklyn, NY

If the land is privatized, expect restrictions to be worse. Look no further than Park City that has been bought, paved, and turned into cookie cutter condos and third homes for folks that visit twice a year. The trails that used to be biked and hiked 25 years ago are now on private property and inaccessible. I hope the Feds keep the land, otherwise it will go to the highest bidder and we will all lose. It might not be immediate, but give it a couple of generations and access would evaporate.

Bountiful, UT

I would look for this story to be picked up by national news organizations, including magazines, and the people of Blanding are not going to look very good.

The history of looting archeological artifacts by Blanding residents is well documented, and their cultural conflicts with Native Americans in that corner of the state has a very long history.

This county commissioner will regret leading this ride.

Provo, UT

Upson Downs, you are the one who doesn't understand the history of the West.

The federal government has owned these lands ever since the Mexican War, we explicitly "forever disclaimed any right and title to" these lands in our State Constitution, and in many cases *we pled with the feds to actively administer the lands after private and state administration had proved disastrous.* For instance, the Manti Forest Reserve was created by (Republican) Teddy Roosevelt in response to (Republican) Senator George Sutherland's campaign on behalf of petitioners in Sanpete County who found that when their fellow citizens totally denuded the mountains, horrific mudslides and cholera-contaminated municipal water were the result.

We aren't a fledgling state now like we were in 1903, but attitudes like yours and Commissioner Lyman's tell me we still aren't ready to administer lands wisely.

These lands belong to GaryO just as much as to you. GaryO and his Virginia compatriots don't get to decide what happens to Shenandoah without your input any more than you get to decide what happens to Recapture Canyon without their input. Both areas are the heritage of all Americans.

dallas, TX

The Hooliganism needs to stop. Just because you don't like a particular law, the line forms to the left. But breaking laws is absolutely nuts, and Phil Lyman should be ashamed and seen this coming. You can't continue to spew hate and believe there aren't any ramifications.

Murray, UT

Less a public lands battle and more of a slow acting Federal government. A decision should have been made by now, it's long overdue. However getting the public angry over trespassing will not force a decision.

Utah's public land battle is more about private ownership vs. public ownership, and locking up our wide open spaces.

Woods Cross, UT

Basically what Utahns want is the right to do with "Utah Public Lands" as Utahns see fit. We are tired of people who aren't connected to the land like we are telling us what we can and cannot do. I do not suppose to assume someone has zero ties to anything without speeking with them first. I will state I have often been covered in Utah's red sand, waded through cold mountain creeks, climbed the canyon rocks, hit my brakes for passing deer and have looked into yellow eyes after hearing the piercing scream of a cougar. These are the things that a true Utahn should treasure, not some machine. Nature was meant to be discovered on foot, where you can notice the sun hit the quartz on a rock or smell the dew as the sun climbs up the hill. My point is that we must remember what we are actually trying to pass on to future Utahns and worry less about those people we don't think should have a say. Ultimately we live here and are the actual stewards of the land, it's our responsibility.

Somewhere in Time, UT

Most of these negative comments about the protest and the people are from out-of-staters and people who have no idea whatsoever about what goes on in San Juan County. These federal actions don't effect their lives one iota.

This is about federal over reach and excessive enforcement by bureaucrats in most cases--not elected officials. The trail was open and bureaucrats cut it off. Cutting off this trail to ATVs does NOTHING to protect artifacts and the ATVers didn't damage any artifacts. (In fact, they mostly work very closely with the BLM to protect sites. They're responsible, respectful people.) It's just an arbitrary action by federal bureaucrats.

And... I'm so glad someone brought up the antiquities case of a few years ago. That was another example of federal overkill--a sledgehammer to kill a gnat. Three suicides resulted and the whole thing was grossly mishandled by the feds. It was a tragedy that didn't need to happen.

These people were mostly respectful and law abiding. They have a right to have their voices heard.

Jim Cobabe
Provo, UT

Not even accurate to say that ATV riding is illegal here. There are numerous trails around Recapture Canyon that are perfectly legal for ATV riding or any other such activity. The restrictions were implemented to protect sensitive areas. But to some, any restriction is a challenge. What freedom gives us license to rampage over public lands and ruin them for everyone? Are there not enough places already designated for such use to satisfy everyone?

Presumably the fines will be in the mail for those who would live like they can ignore these rules. Because some apparently now approach the attitude where even sensible laws represent "repressive government".

Draper, UT

This type of behavior is ridiculous, let alone illegal. It's galling that these people and the Cliven Bundy's of the world wrap themselves in the flag while flaunting the very laws of the country the flag represents. There are thousands of miles of ATV trails in Utah that these folks and others can ride. Perhaps they wouldn't trash the historic sites on the trails in question, but it's a lead pipe cinch someone eventually would. Witness the Goblin Valley rock topplers. Obey the law of the land, folks.

La Verkin, UT

It is appropriate for the citizens of Utah to have this debate, but the Federal Government should have no say. The Constitution specifies what the Federal Government can own as it pertains to lands. The land in question does not fall under that definition and as such, should be owned or controlled by the state or by private owners. The BLM is out of line.

Benny Hill


Isn't interesting that the federal government ownes anyware from 25% to 80% of western states and never relinquished control to the states and private ownership? Many people outside the west say that these lands are "all of our lands." Well, what about the lands in Virginia? Surely they are all of our lands, too. In fact, those lands in Virginia, the crisp green foilage, dense deciduous forests, are like an oasis to someone like me who has grown up in Utah, where the forests and landscape are beautiful, too, but different than those on the East Coast. Why is Virginia not 67% owned by the government? I think there are a lot of animals and history to protect all across America. Given the increasing arbitrariness of our people in power in government, let's take protection to the next level by confiscating at least 50% of Virginia land from the the state and private owners there, to preserve them, so that all Americans can enjoy the forests of the East. I like hiking the outdoors, and wish to hike unhindered throughout the whole East, in forested areas. I ought to be able to do so because I am American.

Norman Wright
Provo, UT

I am a Westerner by birth and have spent well over half of my life living in Utah. I disagree with the actions of these people. You are breaking the law by riding your vehicles into lands that have been set aside for enjoyment by all. I don't get to break a law just because I happen to disagree with it. Neither do you. It would be different if the vast majority of Westerners shared your viewpoint but we don't. This is government by the people and for the people and you are treading on my rights!

liberal larry
salt lake City, utah

It is really a shame that a small band of inconsiderate people can ride ruff shod over sensitive archeological areas.

These people are raising awareness, but unfortunately that awareness is shining the spot light on their own irresponsible behavior.

Another expample of the new "conservative sense of entitlement".

Woods Cross, UT

It is time for the people of southern Utah to realize that those public lands are not solely THEIR lands, those lands belong to us all. But keep protesting and damaging archaeological sites. I'm sure that with such a record and attitude there is no way that the people of this nation will ever allow the state of Utah to gain control of one square inch of those lands.

Corpus Christi, TX

If you look into the whole thing, and as the BLM said, there are 2,800 miles of park land ATV's can travel, all within a very very short distance from the town, yet that isn't enough, they want to be able to drive through and destroy sensitive areas. ATV's don't just travel lightly, they dig into the trail, creating ruts and deep cuts that hamper hikers and others, and many of them don't even stay on the trail, one of the reasons they were banned from that area in the first place. Some areas in our park systems are very sensitive to damage, and ATV's do a lot of damage, not only to the trails, but to plants and sensitive areas. There is proof all over this country to prove what I say, even where I live their are sensitive sand dunes that protect the coast, ATV's try to use them all the time, but the park service and county governments work hard to stop them.

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