Comments about ‘Phil Lyman: The BLM hasn't kept its own rules’

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Published: Sunday, May 18 2014 12:00 a.m. MDT

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10CC
Bountiful, UT

Phil - you reveal the underlying problem with Recapture Canyon with your last statement.

The Founders of Blanding and Monticello did not arrive 150 years ago. They were there long before any of the more recent settlers arrived.

The BLM has an obligation to balance out the interests of a wide variety of Americans. The feelings of the White Mesa Utes, the Ute Mountain Utes, and other native Americans, are willfully disregarded by more recent settlers, time after time after time.

You've stated your opinion. I'd like to hear from Mark Maryboy or others who may have a different perspective. After that, the American people en masse have an opinion.

We are the owners, not you.

Selznik
Saint George, UT

This is nothing but an attempt at self-justification by someone who had broken the laws if his own church: "We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law. (Articles of Faith:12)"

Happy Valley Heretic
Orem, UT

Truth be told. In 2007 the BLM did an emergency temporary closure under federal regulations.

You didn't mention why in 2007?

Here's what you neglected to mention of the good local folks...

The result was a series of trails drivable by all-terrain vehicles and dirt bikes.

The second investigation involves looting that took place in mid-2007 at a large archaeological site accessible from the illegal trail. Known as the Recapture Great House, the site includes a multi-story pueblo from the Pueblo II period of the Ancestral Puebloans, according to the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

ATV tracks were all over, and pot-hunting holes had been dug, The looters had even left their tools.
The BLM subsequently issued an emergency closure for 1,871 acres in the Recapture Canyon area in September 2007.

Your inability to see why the BLM had to step in should be cause for alarm, as it seems unlikely that you would be unaware of the looting going on at the same time, yet you didn't mention that this was the main reason for the closing, 2 years after the illegal trail was built .

Irony Guy
Bountiful, Utah

This letter is a highly convoluted attempt to excuse what cannot be excused: Mr. Lyman and his supporters openly violated the law. They ran literally "roughshod" over properties that belong to all Americans and were being managed by our duly authorized representatives.

I used to try this sort of rhetoric on my mother when I was a kid. It did me no good except to make me feel ashamed. As Mr. Lyman should feel.

mck201111
mariposa, CA

What a myopic and in my opinion duplicitous statement by Mr. Lyman. Proximity to federally managed land gives you no proprietary right with regard to the management of that land. Apparently the BLM did not feel there was any other choice but to close motorized access. After Mr. Lyman’s stunt it is easy to see how cooperative efforts between local governments and organizations failed. As has been stated in other articles, the BLM was in the process of assessing the viability of rerouting and opening a motorized route. This would have taken considerable time, enough to ascertain how much damage had been done by those upstanding good-ol-boys that caused an estimated $300,000 in damage and were fined $35,000 for their “honest efforts” that damaged two sites. There are an estimated 40 sites within recapture canyon. So I would imagine that rerouting would incur a significant amount of time and money to resurvey. The route would also have to avoid historic sites of significance including historic routes that have been abandoned, and now require the necessity to preserve them also.

mck201111
mariposa, CA

Perhaps local interest isn’t always the best to accomplish these tasks as attested to by the raid and arrest of 20+ of the local citizenry of Blanding in 2009 for sales of looted artifacts. It was very unfortunate that this led to suicides by three of those arrested. “Many defendants have surnames — Lyman, Shumway, Redd — that have been prominent here since Mormon pioneers explored the area in the 1880s with plans to bring their education system to Indians” (New York Times, 2009). Artifact collection has been a pastime probably for at least 100 years (The Four Corners Archaeological Raids That Caused The Suicide of Dr. James Redd and Two Others: 2013). Never the less, for the majority of responsible citizens we have moved from this ignorance to see the importance of both preservation and cultural sensitivity. These raids painted the majority of Blanding residents with a broad brush as looters and grave robbers.

Demosthenes
Rexburg, ID

The BLM has failed to show any correlation between damage to artifacts and the presence of ATV trails. Looting and vehicle access are two separate issues, properly dealt with in different ways.

The letter writer is correct in asserting that the BLM over-reached its authority by failing to involve the local governments while succumbing to pressure from distant special-interest groups.

It's high time the American people stood up to unelected bureaucrats who make laws that are properly the responsibility of Congress or the states.

mck201111
mariposa, CA

"Those ancient sites are the equivalent to churches," said Mark Maryboy [listed on the commissioner website and], a former Navajo Nation Council delegate. "It's very disappointing that they have no respect for Native American culture." (Us. News and World Report, May 9, 2014)
Mr. Lyman's statement highlighting illegal protest in parenthesis would suggest that he has his doubts; however,
San Juan County Commission Chairman Bruce Adams says he sympathizes with Lyman's impatience with the federal agency, but the three-member commission declined to endorse the ride because its insurance policy may not cover actions that are deemed illegal.
"What Phil is doing is on his own," Adams said. (Salt Lake Tribune, May 18, 2014)
And indeed Mr. Lyman had said he was acting as a private citizen.

J Fries
Blanding, UT

Why is it that people from California or the Wasatch front do not consider the ancient people who inhabited the areas where they reside? And if the people in San Juan County have such a reputation for looting, why then, is this canyon, which sits closest to Blanding, still so relatively untouched? No one is claiming local ownership of the land, but if roads and trails are to be closed, there is a process for doing so which includes local government. You don't just close an existing area overnight and not expect local people to push back.
Rule of Law protects people. Rule by Law is a tool for government to suppress in a legalistic way. If there are no rules to limit the actions of agencies like the BLM, and to hold them accountable, then we are in serious trouble.

J Fries
Blanding, UT

Never mind that this canyon has been used for more than 150 years of modern recorded travel, and for centuries before that. When the BLM feels the need to modify travel they are required to work with local governments to develop a solution. When the BLM does by force what it could and should do by communication and coordination nothing productive can ever come of it.
Those in California and the Wasatch Front - where is your deep concern for the ancient people who once lived where you now live? Why, if people in San Juan County are "looters," is this canyon which sits next to Blanding still so relatively untouched.
San Juan County has not asserted ownership of public land, but they certainly have a right to assert valid and existing right-of-way grants. Does the BLM really believe that they are above the law and that they can simply take whatever they feel like and then "flout" their own rules and laws in the name of "management?" This is the opposite of management. The fact that they now have paramilitary units standing by to enforce their arbitrary discretionary actions in the name of "the law" is a travesty.

lost in DC
West Jordan, UT

why should we expect the BLM under the BO misadministration to follow the rules? nobody else under his control does.

FT
salt lake city, UT

The riders are criminals and need to be prosecuted. The writer justifies their actions by twisting the facts and offering opinions. Let them pay their fines or serve jail time as all criminals do.

deserthound
Salt Lake City, UT

I love these two statements: "Two upstanding and respected men were charged with “carving, bulldozing, blazing,” a new trail. But these charges are false."

Two guys go into the canyon on their own and construct trails and bridges without asking or telling the BLM? You call that "upstanding and respected", Phil? In my dealings with the BLM law enforcement personnel around the state, I would classify those guys as "upstanding and respected." They don't take charging perpetrators with crimes lightly.

And this: "The reason would be found in the oath that local officials take to protect the customs, culture, morals, history, health, safety, and welfare, of constituents."

Do those customs, culture and morals including breaking the law like looting burial sites, as many San Juan County residents seem to have a pretty solid track record of doing?

GaryO
Virginia Beach, VA

10CC -

"The Founders of Blanding and Monticello did not arrive 150 years ago. They were there long before any of the more recent settlers arrived. "

Yes they were. And it descendants of the more recent settlers who think they have the right to rip apart the graves of the real founders in their zeal to steal relics.

And now these thieves insist the big bad US government is picking on them.

Ridiculous!

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