“We regret that the illegal ATV ride planned for tomorrow appears to be going forward. Recapture Canyon is public land belonging to all Americans and contains ancient cultural sites and artifacts that are at serious risk of being destroyed or damaged.
“The BLM's multiple-use and sustained yield mission is to ensure the health and productivity of the public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. However, multiple-use does not mean every use on every acre, and the limited closures help protect these sensitive resources from further damage and shows respect to those whose final resting place is in the canyon.
“The BLM-Utah will seek appropriate penalties against anyone who willfully violates the law. As always, our first and most important priority will be the safety of the public and our employees, and our actions will reflect that.”
There are more than 2,800 miles of trails on public lands that are open to ATV use within a short-drive of Blanding – in other words, the approximate distance between New York City and Los Angeles. This extensive trail system offers OHV riders vast and diverse opportunities to ride and recreate on public lands in southeastern Utah. In order to protect the rich archaeological record left by the Ancestral Puebloans who once called this area home for nearly two millennial, the trail was closed to motorized access in 2007. The BLM is committed to constructively addressing competing resource demands on public lands in the area and will continue to engage with the county and other stakeholders.
Public lands managed by the BLM in Utah contribute significantly to the State’s economy and have a positive impact on nearby communities. Diverse recreational activities on BLM-managed lands in Utah provided $490 million in local and national economic benefits in 2012.
Utah Gov. Gary R. Herbert has issued the following statement about the situation in San Juan County with Recapture Canyon:
“I understand there has been a great deal of frustration with the amount of time it has taken for the Bureau of Land Management to issue a decision on Recapture Canyon. My office is working closely with the new BLM director, Neil Kornze, and Utah BLM director, Juan Palma, to get the issue resolved as quickly as possible. I appreciate the concerns of county officials and others. I will continue to work with all parties involved to finally bring a resolution to this matter. In the meantime, I encourage everyone to uphold the law and not do anything that could disrupt public safety.”