On May 10th, 2014 over 200 citizens exercised their 1st Amendment Right to protest and assemble in Blanding, Utah participating in the Recapture Canyon Protest. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Utah Director Juan Palma along with a list of other federal employees orchestrated a plan to arrest San Juan County Utah Commissioner Phil Lyman, Monte Wells (the author of this post), and others.
Part of the BLM’s plan involved charging some protesters with monetary damages to archaeological sites that the Recapture ATV trial had contact with. In September 2014 Lyman and the other four men were charged with conspiracy to ride a closed trail and trespassing. During the trial the US Attorney didn’t present any evidence showing that anyone had driven an ATV on the closed trail. Never the less the BLM decided there was over $300,000.00 dollars worth of damage.
Lets take a look at the damage the BLM is referring to on the Recapture Canyon trail.
These are pictures of the trail on May 21, 2014 just 11 days after the protest.
Here is the ATV trail in September 2014 just 4 months later
That doesn’t look like much damage to me but let’s compare the Recapture Canyon pictures to three areas the BLM has done some tree clearing projects and other work.
The following pictures were taken in the Indian Creek Recreation Area where the BLM has ignored the 2005 EA for the area and built a paved parking lot, camping areas, and closed a county road illegally. The following pictures focus on the illegal dirt work and road closure the BLM did in 2011.
The following pictures were taken in 2014 after a crew had cleared the area of trees and brush. The crew went outside of the work order area and ran over and archaeological structure.
The next set of photos where taken in June 2015 of a BLM clearing area in San Juan County. As the crew was driving into the area they damaged several trees along the county road because of the size of the equipment. They drove through what appears to be a fire pit or kiln which is near a dwelling and other sites. They also left their trash in the area.
After looking at the different areas that have been photographed I can’t help but wonder, if Recapture Canyon damage is over $300,000.00 dollars what is the cost of the damage the BLM has done?