Little Boys With Big Toys

Today the war between self-appointed “militia” and the BLM continues with a protest of the closing (in 2007) of Recapture Canyon, Utah, to motorized vehicles. Today a bunch of spoiled brats with big senses of entitlement plan to ride around Recapture Canyon on ATVs in the name of “freedom.” The issue with the area is that it is full of archeological sites, including some nearly intact Pueblo dwellings, and the ATVs were smashing things, which is why the BLM made it off limits to ATVs. Here’s a video made in 2010 that shows what the area is like:

(Update: Saturday’s Illegal Cliven Bundy-Endorsed ATV Rally Runs Through Sacred American Indian Sites)

As soon as the BLM said people had to stop riding ATVs in Recapture Canyon, the Spoiled Brat Militia, also called the Little Boys With Big Toys, made riding ATVs in Recapture Canyon a Big Deal Cause. Never mind that Utah is this huge sparsely populated state with who knows how many trails to ride on; if they can’t ride through Recapture canyon and smash up artifacts at will they are being Oppressed.

A fellow who loves the canyon named Don Peacock wrote,

One immediate consequence of the illegal ATV event is the cancellation of a well-planned trip for veterans co-sponsored by the BLM and the Sierra Club. I was to be a partner in this invaluable veterans’ program and had intended to address the vets at Sand Island, 20 miles south of Blanding, on the day following the ATV trip. Many of the veterans are, like myself, disabled from combat, with service-related trauma both physical and psychic. Native American medicine men were to prepare sweat lodges, along with traditional healing ceremonies. Navaho war veterans, whose ancestors were forced off these lands and fought in great numbers in our country’s foreign battles, had planned to assist the veterans healing program. I was especially enthusiastic to participate in the vets program because of the Navajo and the quality of the leadership of both BLM and Sierra Club outreach personnel. One of them wrote this on April 24:

“Due to the potential risk of an illegal ATV ride on BLM lands conflicting with our Cedar Mesa trek, we are postponing the event until October of this year. While the spiritual side of the event could be affected by the ATV ride, there is also the potential safety risk to BLM staff and trip participants due to the recent hostile atmosphere in the West surrounding these events.”

This great healing event for veterans has been pushed aside by a few ATV advocates insistent on illegally riding their silly toys. What a missed opportunity.

The Salt Lake Tribune reports:

Fed up with federal control over lands their families have used for generations, about 30 people on ATVs on Saturday drove into Recapture Canyon, a nearby trove of prehistoric sites the Bureau of Land Management closed to motorized use seven years ago.

San Juan County Commissioner Phil Lyman, acting as a private citizen, organized the event, which started with a rally in Blanding’s Centennial Park, to protest what he and supporters call federal “overreach” into local jurisdiction. Prompting the protest is their anger with what they say is the BLM’s failure to process San Juan County’s applications for ATV rights-of-way in Recapture, which is filled with Native America prehistoric sites.

It’s federal land; there is no “local jurisdiction” and never has been. These guys are destroying things that belong to all of us.

… there was little sympathy from environmental, hunting and preservation groups, as well as tribal members, who claim an ancestral affiliation with the Native Americans who inhabited the canyon 1,000 years ago. Critics say ATV enthusiasts have themselves to blame for the closure by building an unauthorized trail over archaeological sites that harbors middens, kivas, farming plots and cooking areas.

Vehicle traffic accelerates erosion of intact deposits under the routes, which can help reveal how prehistoric people thrived in this arid landscape, but only if studied in proper scientific context, according to Jerry Spangler of the Colorado Plateau Archaeological Alliance.

“Damage to archaeological sites is permanent and the information about our collective past is then lost forever,” Spangler said. “It is sad that irreplaceable treasures of importance to all Americans would be sacrificed on the altar of anti-government fervor. It is worse that protesters would be so blinded to their own insensitivity as to what others consider to be sacred treasures of their past.”

They don’t care about anybody but themselves and their “right” to ride around in noisy, smelly vehicles and ruin things for everyone else. Little boys with big toys.