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In Moab, it's the Lone Ranger vs. the BLM

Published August 15, 2012 3:14 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The Lone Ranger has tangled with a good many desperados over his career — but he may have met his match, in an unnamed Bureau of Land Management employee.

The Moab Sun News reports on a conflict between this BLM employee and the film crew that was making the big-budget Disney Western "The Lone Ranger" in southern Utah last month. (The movie, starring Johnny Depp and Armie Hammer, is slated to be released next summer.)

The conflict began when the production tried to alter its permit, to allow them to film 50 horsemen riding 50 abreast for one scene — instead of riding two abreast as originally planned. While that would make a cooler shot, the BLM employee was concerned how the change would affect the site's cryptobiotic soil (a fragile desert ecosystem) and local vegetation.

Ultimately the problem was smoothed out and the production got its shot — but Tara Penner, director of the Moab to Monument Valley Film Commission, and Moab Mayor Dave Sakrison expressed concern with the way the BLM handled the whole thing.

When interviewed, the cryptobiotic soil said only, "Who was that unnamed BLM employee? I wanted to thank her."

(Thanks to the Tribune's Dan Harrie for correcting The Cricket's error. The BLM employee is a woman.)