JOHN M. GLIONNA
May 12, 2014
The ATVs kicked up sprays of dirt, their riders waving American flags and protest signs as they rumbled along a disputed canyon trail that federal officials had closed to motorized vehicles.
Their message Saturday was clear amid the dust: This was the latest challenge by citizens saying they are defending state and local rights against an increasingly arrogant federal government that has overstepped its role in small communities such as Blanding.
The protagonist this time wasn’t a private rancher like Cliven Bundy, who prevailed in a standoff with the Bureau of Land Management in Nevada. This protest was the brainchild of a public official, San Juan County Commissioner Phil Lyman, who contends that this town of 3,500 residents has tried hard to compromise with the bureau to reopen scenic Recapture Canyon to all-terrain vehicles.
BLM officials banned the vehicles to protect archaeological sites, a move residents say has cheated them out of a prime recreational area. Unlike in the Bundy incident, no guns were brandished here, but the words were volatile. “If you make a rule that I have to lick your boots,” Lyman said of federal officials, “I’m just not going to do that.”
This article was posted: Monday, May 12, 2014 at 10:45 am