ROARING MAD: Trailblazing conflict in Utah as ATVs cut through federal land

– By Laura Parker for The Daily
Sunday, July 31, 2011 –

BLANDING, Utah — Leaders in this sun-baked, canyon-riven corner of the state are going to war with the federal government — over an old cow trail.

In 2007, after two Blanding men illegally “improved” the path through a nearby canyon to accommodate ATVs, the Bureau of Land Management closed it to motorized vehicles, rousing the town’s ire. That became full-fledged fury when the men were arrested last year and slapped with a combined $35,000 in fines. The San Juan County commissioners joined the fray by asserting a claim of jurisdiction over the trail, even though it runs through federal land.

The dispute has emerged as a signature event in the increasingly contentious national conflict over where all-terrain vehicles are allowed to roam on public lands.

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