As I returned home to Blanding, Utah for my father’s funeral, I passed over the Recapture Dam and looked to the south.
Almost 30 years ago, my father and I spent a few summers moving cattle up and down that canyon. While you would occasionally see a piece of Anasazi pottery, that was always a sideshow. We needed the canyon to graze our cattle as we moved them to the summer pasture on the Blue Mountain.
I wonder if in today’s environment, we would be accused of breaking the law.
One of the speakers at my father’s funeral was Phil Lyman who led the ATV protest into Recapture. Lyman has been convicted of riding a motorized vehicle on a closed road (what are roads for?), because environmentalists don’t want motorized vehicles in Recapture.
Having ridden Recapture by horse from almost to the point it enters into the San Juan River up to the forest property, I recognize it is has it’s areas of beauty. I also recognize that what good is beauty if no one can enjoy it? Shouldn’t local residents be able to utilize the surrounding area to help build their economy? You won’t find many poorer areas than San Juan County. The more restrictions the government puts on the land (which it owns the vast majority of in San Juan County), the more control it exercises over its citizens.
Whether you agree with Lyman’s actions or not, it reflects the desire that local citizens desire for control over their local land.
The state of Utah has done a lot of saber-rattling about 10th amendment rights and local control.
Thus far, all it has been is rhetoric and little action. Let’s hope that our state government gets a little bit of the spirit of Lyman and the other residents who stood up against the federal government.
All talk and no action, leads to a state of status quo. A status which residents of rural Utah can’t afford.