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SALT LAKE CITY — Consequences could be coming for between 40 and 50 ATV riders who chose to ride on a trail banned for motor vehicle use in San Juan county last Saturday.
BLM spokesperson Megan Crandall said undercover BLM officers were on the trail, keeping track of those who chose to drive into the Recapture Canyon trail. The area is protected for archeological and environmental reasons.
"I can tell you that as that investigation is ongoing. We will seek all available redress trough the legal system to hold the people who chose to break the law accountable," Crandall said.
That investigation will likely result in some kind of legal citation or criminal charges — the U.S. attorney's office says it's too early to say which.
The probe will address the trespassing violation and possible damage the ATV ride may have done to the trail and its surroundings. In addition, several children were observed riding on ATVs without a helmet — a violation of state law. Those infractions may also result in after-the-fact penalties.
The ride highlighted an ongoing dispute since the BLM closed the trail in 2007. San Juan County Commissioner Phil Lyman — the ATV ride organizer — said the road is in the county's jurisdiction not the BLM's. He also said he regrets the decision by those who travelled into the roadless area, and takes responsibility for that happening. He said he went back to the area and damage appears to be minimal.
Crandall said the area off-limits to ATVs, including about 20,000 acres — a small fraction of the 1.8 million acres the BLM oversees through it's Monticello field office.