“Regrettably, after a peaceful rally in Blanding, Utah, a number of individuals broke the law by driving ATVs through Recapture Canyon where ancient artifacts and dwellings may have been damaged by the riders.
As always, our first and most important priority is the safety of the public and our employees, and our actions today reflect that. The BLM’s law enforcement presence today focused on recording and documenting individuals who chose to violate the law by traveling into the closure area on ATVs.
We know from the archaeological record left behind in Recapture Canyon that the area was previously occupied for at least 2,000 years. 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.
The BLM was in Recapture Canyon today collecting evidence and will continue to investigate. The BLM will pursue all available redress through the legal system to hold the lawbreakers accountable.
There are more than 2,800 miles of trails open to ATV use on public lands adjacent to or within a short drive of Blanding. This extensive trail system offers OHV riders vast and diverse opportunities to ride and recreate on public lands in southeastern Utah.
We are committed to constructively addressing competing resource demands on public lands in the Monticello Field Office and will continue engaging with San Juan County and our other stakeholders to collaboratively manage these public lands.”
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.