A small war over access to Recapture Canyon east of Blanding has been brewing since 2005, when some apparent locals constructed a road to accommodate ATVs and other off-road vehicles. Concerned environmental, wilderness, and archaeological watchdogs asked alerted the local BLM office, and after surveying the damage done to lovely Recapture Creek’s lush riparian habitat and the several hundred Anasazi ruins and burial sites dating from over at least two thousand years ago, the BLM closed the illegal road to motorized vehicles in 2007.
Well, that sincerely pissed off some of the local members of the Patriot Movement, Sagebrush Rebellion, and What.Ev.Ers, and they staged an ATV protest at another wilderness study area in 2009. By 2010, the Great Old Broads for Wilderness began trying to repair and assess some of the damage, and one fine day came to the canyon entrance and found a number of: ‘Wanted Dead or Alive: Great Old Broads for Wilderness’ posters had been nailed up. Ha.Ha.(grrrr.)
Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find any CC photos to show you the sweet canyon, but here are some images, including some from the Great Old Broads and those ‘grrr-eat old patriots’. So, in another spate of irony I’ll show you this video made by Monte Wells who runs a motorized outfitting tour business, as in: not tours by horse, but by ATV. He also keeps this ‘Recapture our public lands’ theme alive on one of his websites. ‘Recapture Recapture’, get it? Yes, Monte; we get it in spades.
The San Juan County Commission had asked the BLM to consider a grand proposal for interconnected motorized right of ways, including Recapture Canyon, and have gotten a bit surly at the slow process under federal protection laws. So, feeling his oats after Cliven Bundy seemed to have ‘won a victory’ in Nevada recently, Commissioner Phil Lyman advertized an ATV protest ride, and the news of course went viral within that community (the redneck version of ‘the moccasin telegraph’, perhaps?).
Because see, it really doesn’t matter to them that there are over 2800 miles of back-country roads in the county that are open to motorized traffic, and a mere 14.3 miles closed to it. Oh, no: we have to hear shite like this out of their mouths (in print or video interview):