I have never been a fan of Federal control over Utah land. The Federal government doesn't pay property tax, and in certain cases the Federal government has used legal doctrines like imminent domain in ways that have truly hosed the Utah economy and Utah ranchers. Having said that, I concede that I am not all that passionate about this issue and have not taken the time to get fully enveloped in all the nuances of the Utah v. Federal land debate.
This week Utah hosted a "Take Back America (or Utah)" rally where a reported 5,000 ATV enthusiasts parade their ATV's up SLC's State Street to the Utah state capital:
"Colorado has already lost all its rights to lands," said Virginia Lynn Robertson, who with her husband, Lynn, ventured to Salt Lake City from Dolores, Colo., for Saturday's event.Quite a few prominent politicians were also in attendance, warning how the liberal Federal government is trying to deprive Utahn's their rights of land use. I wasn't aware that riding ATV's wherever you want was a right afforded us in the US constitution, but I'm certainly not a conservative constitutional expert.
"That's why we are here. We belong to an ATV club that has lost all its rights," Robertson said. "Thankfully, it isn't that bad in Utah yet."
I think this groups problem is image. If they would have had a bunch of Utah ranchers parading up State Street with some cattle who would undoubtedly shate of the marble steps of the capital, I might be more inclined to listen, empathize, and support this groups opinion against Federal land acquisitions. However the image of 5,000 over-weight rednecks riding loud, annoying, and destructive ATV's makes me much more supportive of Federal land grabs and restrictions of public land use. I'm sure ATVs are fun, but these vehicles are destructive and far too often those who are riding these vehicles are oblivious to the rights of others, designated trails, and the damage they cause to the wilderness they claim a right to enjoy by riding carelessly.
So, if the problem is the Federal government restricting legitimate and beneficial uses of our states land, I am on your side. However, I could care less about your "rights" to scarify public lands with your annoying toys because you are to fat and lazy to track a deer by foot -- I have a right to enjoy mountain areas free from trampled plant life, loud inconsiderate ATV riders, and an extra tax cost for repairing damage caused by ATV riders that refuse to use proper trails.
Take a Hike!