Utahns are a law-abiding people. We have great respect for government and those who govern us. Many of us hold this as an article of faith. But there are a growing number of so-called patriots who have instead turned criticism of the law into outright rebellion. It doesn't appear likely they will be held accountable for their actions, either.
I'm referring, of course, to San Juan County Commissioner Phil Lyman and his band of neo-Sagebrush Rebels who last month vandalized land in Recapture Canyon by riding their ATVs through the pristine canyon the BLM had closed to motorized use for important ecological and archaeological reasons.
I can sympathize with the frustration experienced by Lyman and many of the residents of the Four Corners region of Utah. Like Lyman's forebearers, my ancestors also traveled through the Hole in the Rock to reach Bluff and the surrounding areas of Southeastern Utah. They were part of the only eastward emigrant train in the history of the United States. Both Lyman and I are rightly proud of this heritage. But the relationship between the land of southeastern Utah and those who live there is a complicated one. Lyman's claims to a unique understanding of the land based on genealogical data should be vigorously questioned.