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Utah men fined for illegal trail construction in Recapture Canyon

Illegally constructed ATV trail in Recapture Canyon, UT

Illegally constructed ATV trail in Recapture Canyon, Utah. Photo taken in 2007 by Bill Hatcher

Serious enforcement of regulations on our public lands has always been part of the Great Old Broads for Wilderness mission. We are pleased to report that, after five years of work on this issue by Broads staff and volunteers, on January 22, two Blanding, Utah men were fined $35,000 and placed on years of probation after pleading guilty to creating an ATV trail through archaeological sites in Recapture Canyon in southern Utah.

We began our quest for justice and restitution in the Recapture case in 2006, monitoring on-the-ground conditions and meeting with the Bureau of Land Management to urge them to enforce their own rules and close the illegal trail. It was finally closed to motorized use, (not to hikers, bicycles or horses) in September of 2007, after fresh pot-hunting activity was discovered.

The fine won’t cover all of the repair that’s needed, but it sends a strong message that this sort of unauthorized activity is no longer tolerated on America’s public lands.

“The probation and restitution ordered in this case represents a just outcome in this matter. These defendants have been held criminally responsible for their wrongful actions and required to pay thousands of dollars in restitution to repair the damage attributable to their conduct,” U.S. Attorney Carlie Christensen said. “I understand many Utahns have strong feelings on both sides of the debate when it comes to Recapture Canyon, However, we must balance many factors when we pursue a criminal prosecution.”

Read the story in The Salt Lake Tribune.