Dear Editor –
The idea of a county commissioner leading an unlawful ATV ride on an illegal ATV trail is appalling. But that is just what Commissioner Phil Lyman of San Juan County plans to do on May 10. He even solicited, in a Salt Lake City paper, other ATV riders to join him in this illegal ride through Recapture Canyon. This area was closed to ATV traffic because of damage caused to riparian habitats and archaeological sites during illegal construction of the trail. He and his followers will obviously be breaking federal law and should be arrested and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
It is just as appalling that our Grand County Council subcommittee recommends preventing the use of the Antiquities Act in Grand County. That is just what they have included in the three draft alternative land-use plans for Grand County being prepared for submittal to the Bishop Public Lands Bill Initiative. While this might not be a blatant violation of law, it is a sneaky, back-door approach to override federal legislation that has been extremely important in creating Utah’s “Big 5” national parks.
Furthermore, the subcommittee wants to do this in spite of overwhelming public opposition. Nearly 90 percent of comment letters submitted to the subcommittee voiced overwhelming support for conservation, and the community spoke out for conservation at the public hearing. Why, on an issue of this magnitude, does the subcommittee not want to follow the wishes of the public? If there is any doubt as to what the Grand County public wants, why not hold a public referendum?
While the subcommittee apparently believes it is looking out for the future of Grand County, the three draft plans are far from visionary. They focus on short-term gains at the expense of long-term public good. Scientific data clearly shows that climate change is real and that our dependency on fossil fuels is steadily decreasing. A visionary plan for the future of Grand County should take into consideration the impacts of dirty energy climate disrupters, maximize our long-term sustainable assets, and preserve our iconic public lands for future generations.