San Juan County’s 40-year Recapture Canyon right of way

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) granted the San Juan Water Conservancy District a 40-year right of way down the existing Recapture Canyon road back in 1986. This is the road that the Recapture Canyon protest was held on in May of 2014.  The  Water Conservancy allowed Commissioner Lyman and the protesters to use the legal right of way on the road.  The Water Conservancy unlocked and opened the gate so the road could be used.

In 2007, at the time of the closure, there was an active placer mine in Recapture Canyon that covered from below the dam to about the end of the road along the pipeline.  The BLM allowed all mining to continue within the closed area until the miner finished and reclaimed the area in 2009.

This demonstrates that there are other special use permits that are not affected by the emergency closure order and the 40-year right of way is one of them,

The following documents are the application for the right of way in Recapture Canyon and the letter to the local miner in Recapture giving him permission to continue mining in the closed area.

This is an action index  showing the history of Right of Way #42412


Recapture Recreation Area Right of Way 1979 to 1986

The following is the letter authorizing the mining in the closed area.

Mining Authorized in Emergency Closure of Recapture 2007 by Tpetroglyph

I have nothing against mining or anything the mining company did while in Recapture Canyon. The point is the contrast between how the BLM singles out one specific group of citizens and prohibits them from using our so-called public lands.  This is very selective and discriminatory behavior on the BLM’s part.

Here are some photo’s and other documents showing the continued uses of the land in the canyon after the 2007 closure. These authorized activities used the same county road as the Recapture protesters.

Pictures of the mining operation during and after it was closed out.



Mining area and road




Around 200 head of cattle travel through Recapture Canyon on the road and trail two times a year.

Grazing Permits Bulldog Allotment

The entire county road has been cleared and mitigated of all archaeological sites prior to the 27″ water pipeline being constructed and buried in the 50′ right of way the road travels down.   This same road is visible in the mining pictures above and this is the road and right of way Commissioner Lyman and several hundred protesters used with permission from the county and BLM Director Juan Palma.

With the conviction of Commissioner Lyman and myself the US Attorney will be looking for us to pay a restitution in the amount of over $100,000.00 for unforeseen damages to this area because protesters drove down this county road/right of way.   The fact is BLM Director Juan Palma gave Commissioner Lyman permission to have his celebration and walk or ride into the canyon on May 10th in the following phone conversation.

Palma denied ever giving Commissioner Lyman permission until he was confronted with this recording in court.  Despite the importance of this recording it was not allowed into evidence so the jury never heard it.

For more information there has been a non-profit group started concerning Recapture so check out their site.

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