It had been a long day of waiting and I can only image how Phil Lyman, Monte Wells, Shane Marian, and Trent Holliday felt.
It was May 1st and I had gone down to the Federal Court to find out whether a few of the protesters who allegedly rode into Recapture Canyon on motorized vehicles would be convicted. Among many of my personal concerns on the issue was the charge of conspiracy that the federal prosecutors had brought against this handful of people, one of them an elected official and the other a local blogger.
About 6pm as we were waiting for the jury to return with a verdict we heard that one of the local news channels just released a report that all four men had been found guilty, which was strange because the jury was still in deliberation on the issue. Something I find to be a glaring issue of most of the Medias’ attention to the protest.
It was another few hours until Phil Lyman and Monte Wells were convicted of riding atv’s on public land closed to motorized use and the conspiracy to do so. As they were exiting the building to the awaiting media (me included), I noticed this woman with the biggest grin on her face. I also noticed she wore a button pronouncing here association with the Great Old Broads for Wilderness.
Obviously this was a vindication for people who believe areas like Recapture Canyon should be Wilderness but I think a couple of things that happened on that day brought to light an important issue. These issues involving Wilderness, Roads, and the many uses of public lands have become personal. To the point that this person was outwardly happy over what is likely to be a miserable situation for Phil Lyman and Monte Wells.
We will be discussing some of the lesser known that surround this particular case. Tune in Sunday Morning 8:30am on ABC4UTAH or link here to YouTube. The story of this protest in recapture canyon is not an easy one to tell because there are so many layers. I would argue that many of us have misunderstood the entire issue because we lack the experiences that this community has had.
I say we can’t understand it because we are not familiar with the community (this is where many misunderstandings begin). There is a history with the BLM and the people of Blanding that we here on the Wasatch Front are aware of or have any understanding. This article and video from the LA Times
might help but I don’t doubt that this community has been harmed by the Federal Government. I hope that if nothing else, that some people will come away from our program this week with some new questions about this protest and how it was prosecuted.
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