BLM Destroyed Archaeological Sites & Artifacts


“Do As We Say Not As We Do”  should be the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) motto.   For years the BLM has been violating their own federal laws and regulations. Which in turn has hurt the economy, and the citizens that they are suppose to be serving.  Because of this abuse several counties in Utah along with the State of Utah  have taken a stand against the Bureau of Land Management and their mismanagement.   The following are several examples:

The Archaeological Resources Protection Act (ARPA) was passed in 1979 to protect artifacts and archaeological sites.  The BLM is one agency that is responsible enforcing the this act.    Despite this the BLM has destroyed animal habitats, acres of Biological Soil Crust, acres of timber, and hundreds of archaeological sites and artifacts under the guises of land management.

In San Juan County Utah the BLM used ARPA as justification to close Recapture Canyon saying the public was damaging archaeological sites with ATV use in the canyon.  During the same time period of the Recapture Canyon closure the BLM cleared 1,700 acres of vegetation from Little Baullie in 2010, and several hundred acres on Dark Canyon Plateau in 2013.   Both areas once heavily occupied by the Anasazi over time.  The BLM’s actions destroyed and damaged archaeological sites and hundreds of artifacts which violates ARPA.

The Archaeological Resources Protection Act (ARPA) of 1979 protects artifacts and archaeological sites. ARPA recognizes that artifacts are at risk because of a growing commercial market. ARPA recognizes that these resources cannot be replaced once they are removed.

ARPA sets criminal penalties at a $10,000 fine and/or a 1-year imprisonment. If the value of the resources involved exceeds $500, penalties increase to $20,000 and/or 2 years in prison. For a second or repeat offense, penalties are $100,000 and/or 5 years in prison. Anyone who damages, digs up, removes, sells, or buys archaeological resources can pay these penalties.

There are other U.S. criminal laws and regulations that also include similar penalties and provisions.

Along with ARPA the BLM is suppose to follow “The National Environmental Policy Act of 1969” better known as NEPA.

The National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) is the mandate of any federal agency or department for the protection of the environment. NEPA was created to ensure federal agencies consider the environmental impacts of their actions and decisions.

During the current development of the Indian Creek Recreation Area the  BLM has ignored NEPA. Without a proper Environmental Assessment or EA the BLM has created paved parking lots, developed campgrounds, and in the process discriminated against the majority of Americans.

The following videos and documents will support these claims of misconduct and criminal behavior by the BLM.   They will also compare the BLM’s actions and damage they caused to the so called damage in Recapture Canyon.

Indian Creek Recreation Area

On October 21,  2005 Monticello Field Office Manager Sandra A. Meyers signed the “Finding of No Significant Impact” and Decision Record Environmental Assessment UT – 090-00-47 Indian Creek Corridor Plan and EA Monticello Field Office.  This document basically stated that Mrs. Meyers had,

determined that the action  will not have a significant effect on the human environment.  An environmental impact statement is, therefore, not required.

With little local support from the citizens of San Juan County the BLM would move forward on developing the federally designated Indian Creek Recreation Area with No so called Environmental Impact to the area.

The following document gives a short history of how and why Indian Creek was being developed into a BLM Recreation Area.

Background on Indian Creek Recreation Area by Tpetroglyph

The following video will take you down Indian Creek to see the impact in the area by all this development.

The development of the Indian Creek Recreation Area has without doubt created a significant Environmental Impact on the environment and the humans that use this area.

The following FOIA-2012 document is a copy of all the documents that I received as a result of my Freedom of Information Request.

FOIA 2012-MTFO Responsive Records Wells.pdf by Tpetroglyph

  • What do you think about the BLM’s actions?
  • Is this really management of public lands?
  • Should the BLM be allowed to destroy archaeological sites and artifacts?
  • Should the BLM be allowed to pick and choose what rules apply to which groups of citizens?

If you want to make your voice heard on this issue contact your local county sheriff’s and commissioners and tell them how you feel.  Contact your state officials, your US Congressman and US Senators as well, but most of all tell others about what is going on.   The more people that know what is happening the harder it will be for the Bureau of Land Management to get away with doing this!




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