Gov. Herbert: Uphold laws during ATV protest

Comment: Off

In this April 24, 2014 photo, Pueblo III-period cliff dwellings created by the Anasazi or Ancestral Puebloan peoples between 1150 and 1300 A.D. in Recapture Canyon near Blanding, in Utah. The Bureau of Land Management closed it to motorized use in 2007. Recapture Canyon is home to dwellings, artifacts and burials left behind by Ancestral Puebloans hundreds of years ago before they mysteriously disappeared. Environmentalists and Native Americans say the ban is needed to preserve the fragile artifacts. (AP Photo/The Salt Lake Tribune, Leah Hogsten) DESERET NEWS OUT; LOCAL TV OUT; MAGS OUT

In this April 24, 2014 photo, Pueblo III-period cliff dwellings created by the Anasazi or Ancestral Puebloan peoples between 1150 and 1300 A.D. in Recapture Canyon near Blanding, in Utah. The Bureau of Land Management closed it to motorized use in 2007. Recapture Canyon is home to dwellings, artifacts and burials left behind by Ancestral Puebloans hundreds of years ago before they mysteriously disappeared. Environmentalists and Native Americans say the ban is needed to preserve the fragile artifacts. (AP Photo/The Salt Lake Tribune, Leah Hogsten) DESERET NEWS OUT; LOCAL TV OUT; MAGS OUT

This April 24, 2014 photo shows Pueblo III-period cliff dwellings created by the Anasazi or Ancestral Puebloan peoples between 1150 and 1300 A.D. in Recapture Canyon near Blanding, Utah. The Bureau of Land Management closed it to motorized use in 2007. Recapture Canyon is home to dwellings, artifacts and burials left behind by Ancestral Puebloans hundreds of years ago before they mysteriously disappeared. Environmentalists and Native Americans say the ban is needed to preserve the fragile artifacts. (AP Photo/The Salt Lake Tribune, Leah Hogsten) DESERET NEWS OUT; LOCAL TV OUT; MAGS OUT

In this April 26, 2014 photo, fresh graffiti signed “S.P. 2013″ scars the canyon wall at the entrance to Recapture Canyon not far from Browns Canyon Road trail head, in the vicinity of Ancestral Puebloan cliff dwellings in Utah. The Bureau of Land Management closed it to motorized use in 2007. Recapture Canyon is home to dwellings, artifacts and burials left behind by Ancestral Puebloans hundreds of years ago before they mysteriously disappeared. Environmentalists and Native Americans say the ban is needed to preserve the fragile artifacts. (AP Photo/The Salt Lake Tribune, Leah Hogsten) DESERET NEWS OUT; LOCAL TV OUT; MAGS OUT

In this April 24, 2014 photo, Pueblo III-period cliff dwellings created by the Anasazi or Ancestral Puebloan peoples between 1150 and 1300 A.D. in Recapture Canyon near Blanding in Utah. The Bureau of Land Management closed it to motorized use in 2007. Recapture Canyon is home to dwellings, artifacts and burials left behind by Ancestral Puebloans hundreds of years ago before they mysteriously disappeared. Environmentalists and Native Americans say the ban is needed to preserve the fragile artifacts. (AP Photo/The Salt Lake Tribune, Leah Hogsten) DESERET NEWS OUT; LOCAL TV OUT; MAGS OUT

In this April 26, 2014 photo, signs posted from 2007 detail travel restrictions and no motorized use throughout Recapture Canyon in Utah. The Bureau of Land Management closed it to motorized use in 2007. Recapture Canyon is home to dwellings, artifacts and burials left behind by Ancestral Puebloans hundreds of years ago before they mysteriously disappeared. Environmentalists and Native Americans say the ban is needed to preserve the fragile artifacts. (AP Photo/The Salt Lake Tribune, Leah Hogsten) DESERET NEWS OUT; LOCAL TV OUT; MAGS OUT

Buy AP Photo Reprints

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — An idyllic Utah canyon home to ancient cliff dwellings and native burials will be the site of a protest Saturday by a group of people who plan to mount their ATVs and ride a trail that has been off limits to motorized vehicles since 2007.

The Bureau of Land Management is warning riders to stay out, vowing prosecution against those who ignore a law put in place after an illegal trail was found that cuts through ruins that are nearly 2,000 years old. The canyon is open to hikers and horseback riders.

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert said he understands frustration around the issue, but urged people to uphold the law and not disrupt public safety during the protest.

The protest is the latest illustration of tension between Western residents and the federal government over management of public lands. But the off-road protest isn’t expected to end in a confrontation like other recent ones.

The BLM doesn’t plan to block access or confront the riders, said San Juan County Sheriff Rick Eldredge, who has been briefed on the agency’s plans. The agency will, however, document people who ride ATVs on the prohibited trail, he said.

San Juan County Commissioner Phil Lyman said he expects hundreds at a city park for a morning rally but only a handful to ride on the restricted trail. He has drummed up interest on social media but isn’t recruiting militant types.

Lyman, whose family has been in the region for four generations, said the ride is a demonstration of his disgust with the federal government’s overreaching control of public lands.

“They are not the supreme authority,” Lyman said.

Recapture Canyon is home to dwellings, artifacts and burials left behind by Ancestral Puebloans hundreds of years ago before they disappeared. A gurgling stream in the canyon likely drew them as it does outdoor enthusiasts today.

Environmentalists and Native Americans say the ban is needed to preserve fragile artifacts. Navajos claim the people who lived there and are buried there as ancestors.

“Those ancient sites are the equivalent to churches,” said Mark Maryboy, a former Navajo Nation Council delegate. “It’s very disappointing that they have no respect for Native American culture.”

The canyon is outside the city of Blanding and about 40 miles northwest of the junction of Utah, Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado, known as the Four Corners.

The protest comes amid high tension over BLM practices.

Last month, the BLM had a standoff with gun-wielding militants in Nevada over a dispute about the roundup of rancher Cliven Bundy’s cattle. BLM

Comments

comments

About the Author