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Paul Rolly: Sleeping with the enemy? ATV riders honor BLM

Published June 13, 2013 6:21 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Utah's stalwart protectors of truth, justice and the American way have been dauntless in their defense of state sovereignty against those vile federal agencies like the Bureau of Land Management, the Forest Service and the Environmental Protection Agency that would enslave us all.

Our heroes like state Reps. Mike Noel and Ken Ivory, U.S. Sen. Mike Lee and Rep. Rob Bishop have been on the front lines to take back our state lands from the carpetbagger feds and let us, the true stewards of the land, treat it as we may.

Attorney General John Swallow, that Dudley Do-Right of jurisprudence in Utah, was hot on the trail of those federal robber barons, threatening to sue their pants off before he became, shall we say, distracted.

So it was interesting that ATV­Utah, promoters of motorized vehicle use on public lands and supporters of the "Take Back Utah" campaign, actually had something good to say about the feds. The group had special praise for the feds in its recent posting about the Tri-State ATV Jamboree, based in Utah.

Under "acknowledgements," the Tri-State ATV Jamboree "would like to give special thanks to the Bureau of Land Management for allowing Jamboree use of public lands under their administration. Their land use and management policies have allowed for our controlled and careful use of ATVs on public lands."

It must be a trap.

Meanwhile • San Juan County officials have been pressing for six years to open the sensitive Recapture Canyon, which is replete with ancient archaeological sites and was closed to public access by the federal Bureau of Land Management in 2007.

But the county and the feds are close to an agreement to open up the trails in the canyon for off-road vehicles and other recreationists, with one caveat.

According to a story in the June 5 edition of the San Juan Record, the BLM will open the canyon but the county must take responsibility for monitoring its use and for any damage to the trails or archaeological sites.

The story goes on to say that the proposal made county commissioners apoplectic.

They just want county control of those sensitive lands and to do what they want without the evil feds telling them what to do. But they don't want to take responsibility for it. The feds are still supposed to do that.

Commissioners noted that regulations say the BLM is responsible for all archaeology on public land and state and local governments are exempt from fees on rights-of-way. They also wondered why no other BLM areas are being treated like that.

One commissioner blamed the whole thing on Great Old Broads for Wilderness, a group of women, many of them grandmothers, who like to hike and who lobby for protection of sensitive lands from development — and are always getting under the skin of officials like the San Juan County Commission.

Celebrating stereotypes? • Monday has been set aside as the day to honor trash collectors nationwide. Among those being honored, of course, will be the Wasatch Front Waste & Recycling District, a publicly owned entity that serves unincorporated Salt Lake County, Taylorsville, Cottonwood Heights, Holladay, Herriman and a portion of Murray.

By all accounts, the district is well run and provides excellent service. The executive director is Pam Roberts, the board chairwoman is Coralee Wessman-Moser, a member of the Herriman City Council, and the vice chairwoman is Sabrina Petersen, a member of the Holladay City Council.

So be sure to give a tip of the hat to the contributions of these three women during the celebration of "National Garbage Man Day."

prolly@sltrib.com