Outdoors blog

ATV protesters leave ruts in public opinion

Ryan Bundy, son of the Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, rides an ATV into Recapture Canyon north of Blanding, Utah on Saturday, May 10, 2014, in a protest against what demonstrators call the federal government's overreaching control of public lands. The area has been closed to motorized use since 2007 when an illegal trail was found that cuts through Ancestral Puebloan ruins. The canyon is open to hikers and horseback riders. (Trent Nelson / The Salt Lake Tribune)
Ryan Bundy, son of the Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, rides an ATV into Recapture Canyon north of Blanding, Utah on Saturday, May 10, 2014, in a protest against what demonstrators call the federal government's overreaching control of public lands. The area has been closed to motorized use since 2007 when an illegal trail was found that cuts through Ancestral Puebloan ruins. The canyon is open to hikers and horseback riders. (Trent Nelson / The Salt Lake Tribune)

PUBLIC LANDS -- The recent Nevada ATV armed protest onto U.S. Bureau of Land Management lands closed to motor vehicle travel is a sham and a shame.

It's no more worthy of public sympathy than the related gun and flag-waving protest over a deadbeat Nevada rancher's claim that he should be able to graze cattle on public lands without paying a fee, despite what the courts say.

Imagine how history might have turned out if Rosa Parks had been brandishing an automatic weapon when she boarded that bus in Montgomery, Ala., all those years ago," starts a Salt Lake Tribune editorial.  The piece is headlined, "ATV riders do damage to a bad cause."

"The cause of those who carried automatic weapons, protest signs, Don’t Tread On Me flags and, worst of all, their own children Saturday on a clearly illegal ATV ride through Recapture Canyon near Blanding does not deserve to be mentioned in the same breath as the Civil Rights Movement.

"Except to point out how the tactics of those who demand the right to play with their expensive toys on land that they have absolutely no legal right to traverse are clearly destructive of a goal that was utterly without merit to begin with....

"In the eyes of most of the American people — and their members of Congress — who really own all that land, Saturday’s ride was accurately discerned as a childish snit fit that should only confirm BLM policy to keep such folks out of environmentally or historically sensitive lands."

See a detailed story on the ATV rebellion by High Country News.




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Rich Landers
Rich Landers writes and photographs stories for a wide range of outdoors coverage, including a Sunday feature section and a Thursday column. He also writes the Outdoors Blog.

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