If the Bureau of Land Management allows San Juan County to legitimize an illegal all-terrain-vehicle trail in Recapture Canyon, it might as well give up even a pretense of enforcing protections for scenic and archaeological treasures in other remote areas.
Making this trail that leads to ancient Ancestral Puebloan cliff dwellings and relics a federally accepted trail would do irreversible damage to the environment in two ways. It would allow ATV users easy access to these particular ruins and put the artifacts at risk. And it would send an unmistakable message to other renegade ATVers: Hack an illegal trail on public land and there's a good chance that trail will get the blessing of the BLM.
The two men who blazed this trail were fined $35,000, and the BLM closed the access, which had been built directly over archaeological sites. But now, under pressure from county officials and residents who see no need for federal protections and want to attract more tourists on all-terrain vehicles, the agency is considering reopening the trail.