San Juan County commissioner leads ATV ride protesting BLM trail closure

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  • Interloper Portland, OR
    May 10, 2014 1:32 a.m.

    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.

  • Lagomorph Salt Lake City, UT
    May 9, 2014 11:09 p.m.

    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?

  • Cats Somewhere in Time, UT
    May 9, 2014 12:18 p.m.

    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 government.

  • woolybruce Idaho Falls, ID
    May 9, 2014 10:28 a.m.

    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

  • JSB Sugar City, ID
    May 9, 2014 10:26 a.m.

    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.

  • Cats Somewhere in Time, UT
    May 9, 2014 10:01 a.m.

    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.

  • Cats Somewhere in Time, UT
    May 9, 2014 9:57 a.m.

    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.

  • DN Subscriber Cottonwood Heights, UT
    May 9, 2014 9:23 a.m.

    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.

  • StalwartSentinel San Jose, CA
    May 9, 2014 9:11 a.m.

    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.

  • stevo123 slc, ut
    May 9, 2014 9:02 a.m.

    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.

  • nlmike North Logan, UT
    May 9, 2014 8:55 a.m.

    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.

  • Happy Valley Heretic Orem, UT
    May 9, 2014 8:23 a.m.

    "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

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    May 9, 2014 8:19 a.m.

    Arrest each individual who illegally rides the trail during the protest.

  • Martin Blank Salt Lake City, UT
    May 9, 2014 6:51 a.m.

    "'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?

  • Tuffy Parker Salem, UT
    May 8, 2014 11:27 p.m.

    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.