San Juan County commissioner Phil Lyman at a May 10, 2014 protest rally in Blanding prior to an illegal ATV ride into Recapture Canyon. [Photo by Eric Trenbeath / Moab Sun News]

On Dec. 22, the Trump Administration announced it would pardon Utah State Rep. Phil Lyman, who was convicted of federal charges for leading a 2014 procession of UTV riders through a San Juan County canyon closed to motorized use.

Then a county commissioner, Lyman was sentenced to 10 days in jail and around $96,000 in restitution fees for the ride, which violated restrictions intended to protect Indigenous heritage sites in the area. 

In a statement released about the grants of clemency given to Lyman and 15 others, the White House said it believed the conviction was the result of “selective prosecution,” also given as the reason for pardoning other political figures in recent months.

Lyman issued a statement thanking President Donald Trump for the pardon on his personal Facebook page.

“People should not fear prosecution when they have done nothing illegal and I hope that my experience brings attention the persistent federal attacks on rural Utah by the Bureau of Land Management, the US Attorneys, activist federal judges, and career politicians who choose to sit quietly when the moment calls for them to stand,” wrote Lyman.

Lyman also thanked U.S Sen. Mike Lee, former Rep. Jason Chaffetz, former Rep. Mike Noel and other Utah politicians for supporting clemency in his case.