On Saturday, dozens of fed-up citizens rode all-terain vehicles onto federally managed land to protest the federal agency’s closure of a piece of land.
ATV riders cross into a restricted area of Recapture Canyon, north of Blanding, Utah, on Saturday, May 10, 2014, in a protest against what demonstrators call the federal government's overreaching control of public lands. The area has been closed to motorized use since 2007 when an illegal trail was found that cuts through Ancestral Puebloan ruins. The canyon is open to hikers and horseback riders.
ATV riders crossed into a restricted area of Recapture Canyon, north of Blanding, Utah, on Saturday, May 10, 2014, in a protest against what demonstrators call the federal government’s overreaching control of public lands.
According to the Los Angeles Times, protesters in Blanding, Utah contend that the BLM has unfairly asserted federal authority to close off a section of land, robbing them of outdoor recreation opportunities.
However, the BLM has argued the contested land, Recapture Canyon, is home to prized archaeological artifacts — such as dwellings and burials left behind by Ancestral Puebloans thousands of years ago — that had been put into jeopardy by overuse. The area was closed off to motor vehicles in 2007, but hikers and those on horseback are still permitted, according the the Los Angeles Times.
Ryan Bundy, son of the Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, rides an ATV into Recapture Canyon north of Blanding, Utah on Saturday, May 10, 2014, in a protest against what demonstrators call the federal government’s overreaching control of public lands. (AP Photo/The Salt Lake Tribune, Trent Nelson)
Protesters want the BLM to move more quickly to act on a years-old request for a motor-vehicle friendly passage through the area, according to Fox News.
In a statement, the BLM said Saturday’s protest may have “damaged many of these archeological resources” that “tell the story of the first farmers in the Four Corners region.”
“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,” BLM Utah state director Juan Palma said. - Read more