It has been nearly two months since armed riders, led by San Juan County Commissioner Phil Lyman, rode ATVs through Recapture Canyon to protest the canyon’s closure to motorized vehicles.
Isaac Holyoak, communications director for Better UTAH, penned an op-ed in the Salt Lake Tribune over the weekend, questioning Lyman’s claims to motorized access in the canyon.
I can sympathize with the frustration experienced by Lyman and many of the residents of the Four Corners region of Utah. Like Lyman’s forebearers, my ancestors also traveled through the Hole in the Rock to reach Bluff and the surrounding areas of Southeastern Utah. They were part of the only eastward emigrant train in the history of the United States. Both Lyman and I are rightly proud of this heritage. But the relationship between the land of southeastern Utah and those who live there is a complicated one. Lyman’s claims to a unique understanding of the land based on genealogical data should be vigorously questioned.
Over 2,000 people have signed a petition calling on BLM Director Juan Palma to hold the ATV protesters accountable. To read more about the petition, or to sign it, click here.