An archaeological site in Recapture Canyon.
© Great Old Broads for Wilderness.
The BLM’s Monticello field office is requesting comments on
a proposal for a new network of off-road vehicle trails in Recapture
Canyon. This proposed route network
includes the illegal route that was constructed in Recapture Canyon in 2005.
Please tell the BLM to maintain
the existing closure order to protect cultural and natural resources.
After the illegal trail was constructed, the BLM conducted a cultural
resource survey along the unauthorized trail and identified nearly 300 cultural
sites in or near the trail. The agency eventually issued an official closure order to protect the cultural resources that were at risk of being damaged by
use of the unauthorized trail. The BLM’s closure order states specifically that
off-road vehicle use in the area is causing, or will cause, considerable
adverse effects to cultural resources.
The Hopi Tribe has requested that the BLM continue the closure
and prohibit off-road vehicles in the canyon due to the sensitive nature of the
cultural resources found there. In
addition, the Salt Lake Tribune has editorialized against rewarding the illegal
trail construction by approving the right-or way, and in favor of maintaining the
closure to protect the archaeological treasures.
Yet San Juan County continues to pressure the agency to
grant a right-of-way to the county for the illegal trail and several other new
trails on the rim of the canyon.
There is no shortage of off-road vehicle trails in San Juan
County, where enthusiasts can enjoy over 4,000 miles of trails on public
lands. The BLM has a duty to protect
Recapture Canyon’s stream, wildlife habitat, and the ancient Ancestral Puebloan
sites. By granting an off-road vehicle
right-of way to the county, the BLM will put these unique and
nationally-significant resources at risk of damage and destruction.
Please click here
to send a letter to the BLM requesting that it deny the county’s right-of-way
request for the proposed off-road vehicle trails in and near Recapture Canyon.
Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance