April 29, 2014 Lance Porter, BLM Canyon Country District Manager 82 East Dogwood Moab, UT 84532 RE: Your letter

of April 28, 2014 outlining BLM’s position regarding citizen protest of the closure of Recapture Canyon adjacent to Blanding, Utah. Also my written acknowledgment that BLM identifying “sites” in Recapture Canyon does not constitute BLM’s permission to ride on this public trail. Dear Mr. Porter, On September 13, 2007 Recapture Canyon was closed to OHV use under authority of the Code of Federal Regulations 43 (CFR) 8341.2 by Acting Field Manager, Sherwin N. Sandberg. The closure order states that this “is not intended to be a permanent order and it does not change the designation in the 1991 San Juan Resource Management Plan (RMP) that the lands including the recapture canyon area are “open” to cross-country motorized use.” In your letter to me dated April 28, 2014 you make a few statements that beg for correction: 1. You write that you appreciate the many conversations you have had with me over the last couple of months regarding the proposed ride. We spoke about the ride once, at my request, following our March 20, Canyon Country Partnership Meeting. You stopped by my office briefly the first week of April and mentioned that you had completed a ROW application for Rocky Mountain Power but we did not discuss this ride. 2. You also refer to my efforts to organize an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) ride along portions of Recapture Canyon. It has never been my intention to “organize” an ATV ride. I wrote an opinion piece that was published in the Deseret News on April 11, in which I announced an excursion into Recapture. I wrote “This time we are inviting all who would like to join us to come and see for yourself. I think you will agree that the real damage is the debris in the trails, the barricades blocking access, and the warning signs placed at every turn.” I had met previously with Juan Palma on March 27, 2014 to see if the BLM
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was able to give even a small token of sincerity in relation to this process which began 7 years earlier. He said, “give me a week.” I told him then, that if he would just have local BLM mark the proposed reroute I would attempt to call off the excursion. I asked him and you to make this a positive event by allowing our group of “citizen-volunteers” to help reroute the trail. Our offer was earnest and made with goodwill, but more than two weeks passed with no returns to my emails and phone calls. The article was published. A week later the Salt Lake Tribune picked it up and did a more heated story which led to the buildup of interest from people across the country. The story here is not Recapture Canyon, but BLM’s refusal to be amenable to the citizens of this area. There is a long pattern of hostility from the BLM against the residents of my Commission district. The May 10 event itself came about at a town hall meeting I held on February 27. Our action is not aggressive or mean, it is purely defensive and intended to demonstrate that, despite heavy-handed federal action against us and our community, we still look to the BLM to respect the law and to follow their own rules and regulations which protect local interests and appropriately recognize State and County jurisdictional authority. Within a few days of the town hall meeting I called Don Hoffheins, the Monticello Field Manager, to inform him of the plans. I told him that we did not want to surprise the BLM. He was appreciative. Our action is an invitation to BLM to communicate with those who are most harmed by the closure, yet still the only communication we receive from you is in the form of threats. 3. You mention in your letter that “In addition, any damage to resources protected by the Archaeological Resources Protection Act will subject violators to further civil and criminal penalties.” Yet, for 7 years the BLM has failed to take any action to mitigate or to prevent further damages. I asked Don Hoffheins in my initial call if BLM would be willing to take measures to protect “sites” that were of concern. I said that the last thing we want to do is willfully damage any archaeology and that we were very willing to do what we could to avoid those places all together or to mitigate what the BLM might consider “damage.” Even to this day we have been unable to get any cooperation from the BLM in this respect. We would never damage something that we could just as easily protect, yet BLM remains uncooperative. BLM is certainly complicit in respect to damages to sites that only they know about and which they are unwilling to identify in advance of this event. 4. You speak of the significant progress that you are making, yet we have heard that claim since 2007. I was shocked three years ago when filed manager. Tom Heinline, after promising a programmatic agreement, announced that it would be delayed by six months. When we met six months later, he announced that he had never meant to imply that the agreement would be ready but only a draft agreement for comments. So another year went by, and what was supposed to be in place in August of 2011 was not actually
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completed until, as you say, last Fall, 2013. Shelly Smith, the District Manager, made assurances as well which were far from realized. The fact of the matter is that San Juan County has acted in good faith from the beginning of the process. We even agreed, against our better judgment, to drop 7 miles of trail from our ROW application. The 7 miles on the south end toward Perkins road was considered to be where “all” the controversy lay, and by dropping that portion the County was assured by BLM and key consulting parties that our ROW application for the north end could be done in a matter of weeks. Four years later the BLM is stalled, and those same consulting parties now say “granting the ROW is rewarding illegal trail construction,” while, at the same time, they pressure BLM to make the closure permanent. Another matter that was dealt with extensively throughout the consulting parties meetings was the question of habitat for the Willow Fly Catcher. It was discussed at length and the BLM concluded that there was no justification for considering the Willow Fly Catcher. Now, the BLM pretends to have no choice but to work around “habitat” on the north end of the trail. There has been no discussion in a meeting of the cooperating parties where this conclusion was validated. In County coordination meetings the notion has been challenged and no evidence has been provided. The field manager himself seems confused by this new mandate. You say that “this proposed ride will very likely hinder and possibly delay our ability to complete this process.” Can you honestly, eight years after the County’s application, make that statement with a straight face? Is this caveat expected to incentive to the County to take an even more passive role than we are already taking? Still you have given no timeline for completion of the “process” and your past record of delay speaks for itself. In our January 27, 2014 coordination meeting you said that outside parties could force BLM to devote all their resources to litigation thus delaying the Recapture process, or any other project of importance to the County, indefinitely. I said at that time that, while this condition may be acceptable to the BLM it was not acceptable to us, and that we would have to pursue other options which you would probably not like. It is shameful for BLM to put the County in this dilemma. You speak of the laws which will be violated by a ride down a dirt trail that has existed in one form or another for at least 100 years, yet you willfully violate the same FLPMA law by failing to conform your plans to the County’s master plan, and by ignoring the culture and customs of the largest community of people in the County, who live within a mile of this canyon. As an elected Commissioner in San Juan County, I claim the authority and I accept the responsibility that comes with this office. Citizens are entitled to the “rule of law” not “rule by law.” Rule of law serves as a check against the abuse of power, especially by governments. Our ride is based upon this premise. BLM hangs its hat solely on the rule by law, which is a mere tool for government to suppress in a legalistic fashion. Your letter is indicative of that. I do not
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consider my protest, or the protest of those who choose to participate on May 10, to be in violation of the law but in support of it. Finally, you asked me to give you a written acknowledgement that BLM identifying “sites” will not be construed in any way to be BLM’s consent for the proposed ride to take place. I hereby acknowledge that to be the case. Had BLM been even slightly willing to work with the elected officials of the County at any point during this process, they would have identified the sites two years ago when we hiked Recapture canyon for that precise purpose. Your request now for written acknowledgement can only be construed as another in a very long line of delay tactics. Laird Naylor had agreed to hike into the Canyon with me yesterday, April 28, but your new condition for written assurance from me put that on hold as well. I am scheduled to spend the day, on May 6, with him to document the current condition of those sites which BLM believes could be damaged by our ride. If that appointment is delayed or cancelled I will consider that to be BLM’s assurance that there are no sites on the trail that the BLM considers to be in jeopardy of damage. As you, I remain hopeful for a resolution to this issue. Humbly,

Phil Lyman, San Juan County Commissioner cc: Via Email - Commissioners Bruce Adams and Kenneth Maryboy, Juan Palma, Senators Mike Lee and Orrin Hatch, Congressmen Jason Chaffetz and Rob Bishop PS – Shortly after receiving your hand-delivered letter which you described as from you to me, I was contacted by a reporter from Environmental and Energy Publications who had received your letter about the same time I did. I recognize that your communications and mine are public record, but I did not realize that Greenwire was at the top of your mailing list.

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