Letter to the Editor: Closing the San Rafael Swell
The BLM must be having a good laugh. Even as the people of Emery County were voting down the anti-access monument proposal, the bureaucrats were working late into the night to close the place down through administrative fiat.
The hanging chads had barely been counted when they unleashed the San Rafael non-travel plan upon a populace newly made confident in its ability to exert at least some control over the surrounding landscape. All at once, 468 miles of roads and trails, some in use for a hundred years were to be closed.
Of course it was just a coincidence that the majority of these closed roads were in the Babbitt/SUWA pseudo wilderness study areas. This action had to be taken to protect the oh-so-fragile landscape that miraculously managed to recover from the action of mining and bulldozers just about everywhere.
The BLM must have recognized just how offensive and abusive this plan was, as they budgeted a huge sum of our hard earned tax money to hire a full time deputy to enforce the new closures. Imagine that, using our money to keep us off of our land!
Sadly, the Emery County Commission acquiesced to this travesty, taking a deputy away from useful police work and assigning him to roam the prairie in search of the newly minted class of wrong doers.
They unleash a blizzard of carsonite "Closed to Vehicle" signs and the plethora of massive barricades that constitute blight far more damaging to the "wilderness experience" that the vehicles ever could be. Go see for yourself, it's absolutely disgusting.
Maybe a few misguided persons drive off the roads and trails occasionally or climb up a hill they shouldn't. No group of recreationists nor any other kind of group is going to be perfect. The trouble is that motorized recreationists are held to an impossible standard; that of zero impact. It would have been a lot cheaper to hire someone to drive around with a rake and fix the errant tracks. But then that wouldn't further the agenda of the BLM.
The way things are going, and if something isn't done about it, 20 years from now there will be no motorized access to the San Rafael Swell other than the graded county roads. And even some of them might not be safe from the carsonite and the barricade.
The scenic lands of the San Rafael Swell will become another neo King's Forest, reserved as a playground for the chosen elite and off-limits forever to the unwashed masses who must be content to pace outside the fence while grasping at the fading memory of a time when it was their land too.