Was BLM Director Juan Palma’s Lack of Action Negligent?

1UZ7_BLM_Utah_Director_Juan_Palma_photo-150x150Put on your waders or stand on a chair because the main stream media is pouring it on rather thick with misinformation and archaeological romanticism concerning the Recapture Protest in Blanding, Utah  last Saturday.

The main stream media has allowed themselves to be flimflammed when it comes to Recapture Canyon and as a result the public is being misled and good people are being discriminated against by the Utah BLM Director Juan Palma’s actions or lack of action.

For example the following statement came out in the Deseret News:

Juan Palma, Utah director of the BLM, said agents noted the illegal activity on the closed ATV trail and the agency will pursue applicable charges.

“We know from the archaeological record left behind in Recapture Canyon that the area was previously occupied for at least 2,000 years,” Palma said in a statement. “Illegal ATV use within Recapture Canyon may have damaged many of these archaeological resources — all of which hold the history and tell the story of the first farmers in the Four Corners region.”

Palma is the same director that has refused to work with the county to resolve this issue for the last few years.  Palma appears to uses the Native American and Anglo racial divides to support his lack of action or response by romanticized Native American heritage and history.  This may be because of his back ground growing “up in the little town of Toppenish, Washington on the Yakima Indian Reservation.”   

Despite his motives or biased feelings he has failed to mention that for the last couple of years the BLM along with the county have prepared and marked out a new route around these minor cultural sites in Recapture. Never the less, the BLM has postponed these adjustments time and time again which have led to seven years of closure.

Palma and other BLM officials have blatantly ignored county requests and efforts to resolve this issue in recapture.

A couple of weeks ago Commissioner Lyman met with Palma again seeking his help to resolve the trail issue and Palma replied, “Give me a week to come up with something”.

A week went by and nothing.  Then came a letter from BLM Manager Lance Porter full of threats and intimidation towards Lyman.

This hostile and discriminating attitude Palma has demonstrated seems to only apply to the citizens of Blanding, Utah.

For example, take Palma’s responses to land use requests from the Friends of Indian Creek during this same time period were dealt with and acted upon in a timely manner.

Indian Creek, Utah has some of the worlds best rock climbing.  The area is littered with archaeological sites, rock art, and wildlife.   Despite this, Palma has allowed the Monticello BLM Office to develop campgrounds, paved parking lots, restrooms, and more without a proper Environmental Impact Study or EA, which violates federal law.

The Friends of Indian Creek have been allowed to solicit donations at all of the BLM campgrounds in the Indian Creek area.  The BLM built a large paved parking lot and restroom for the Friends of Indian Creek because they made a large donation to the BLM to build it.

The BLM even closed a county road illegally because they didn’t want ATV’s using the county road that  went through the climbers campground.

Maybe the community in Blanding, Utah should make a donation to Palma to make the wheels of the BLM run more favorable and smoother in their favor like the Friends of Indian Creek has done.


 

The following pictures were taken in Indian Creek.

Indian CreekPictures

Climbing pictures from different groups.

Indian Creek group photos

The following pictures were taken in Recapture just prior to the closure in 2007.

Untitled-1

2009

Recapture Canyon 2014

Group Recapture
Recapture Canyon 2014
Children running alonside protest ride through Recapture Canyon. near Blanding, Utah, May 10, 2014 | Photo by Dallas Hyland, Courtesy of  St. George News
Children running alonside protest ride through Recapture Canyon. near Blanding, Utah, May 10, 2014 | Photo by Dallas Hyland, Courtesy of St. George News

 

Protest ride through Recapture Canyon. near Blanding, Utah, May 10, 2014 | Photo by Dallas Hyland, Courtesy of St. George News
Protest ride through Recapture Canyon. near Blanding, Utah, May 10, 2014 | Photo by Dallas Hyland, Courtesy of St. George News.

When you do a quick comparison between Indian Creek and Recapture this is what you find:

  • Indian Creek: there were large areas cleared by heavy equipment, building constructed, foot trails to every climbing location, and multiple developed campgrounds in an area covered with rock art and archaeology sites.  News Paper Rock is located in Indian Creek.
  • Recapture Canyon over a 100 years of local use, located next to Blanding, single two-track and trail through the canyon.  Blanding City water pipe and access road traverses the canyon. Part of this waterline and road is located in the arbitrary closed area.  There was placer mining in the canyon until the early 1980’s.  The current trail was maintained and used prior Recapture being designated a closed area in 2008.  The BLM closed the trail in 2007 and charged and fined two local residents for fixing the trail with hand tools $35,000.
  • Compare the area of impact between Recapture Canyon and Indian Creek.  Recapture’s main trail covers around 3.9 miles which just over a mile of that is on county road D5314.  The entire closed area includes around 7 miles which 4.5 miles consist of county roads D5314 and D5315.  The current ATV trail covers 2.5 miles.
  • Indian Creek Climbing Area and foot trails cover the cliffs along 13 miles of Highway 211.  There is also another 10 miles of cliffs on both sides of county road B107 in North Cottonwood Canyon which also is covered in foot trails.

Indian-Creek-Map-1-203x300Recapture-Closuure-233x300

 

Recapture Canyon Road lead to Monticello as far back as the late 1800's
Recapture Canyon Road lead to Monticello as far back as the late 1800’s

 

This comparison clearly shows that the BLM and Director Juan Palma have several sets of standards which discriminates against the ATV community in Blanding and San Juan County.   Mr. Palma had every opportunity to protect the archaeological sites in Recapture prior to the protest, but instead he actively refused to take action or except Commissioner Lyman’s help.  This appears to follow the political standard we have grown accustom to with the Obama Administration through scandal after scandal.  Mr. Palma’s lack of action and attitude raises  concerns about his ability to do his job and possibly being negligent.

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