Utah to sue feds for access to Recapture Canyon

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

ATV riders in Recapture Canyon as part of a protest over use of public lands in May 2014. (FOX 13 file image)

SALT LAKE CITY — The state of Utah has given notice that it intends to sue the federal government for access to Recapture Canyon, FOX 13 has confirmed.

The state’s Public Lands Policy Coordinating Office said it has filed a notice of intent to sue for access to approximately 12,000 RS2477 roads throughout the state.

“As more evidence is gathered, claims will continue to be filed. One of those claims filed yesterday is Recapture Canyon in San Juan County,” Kathleen Clarke, the office’s director said in a statement to FOX 13 on Thursday.

Recapture Canyon has been the subject of controversy. Protesters rode through it last year in a demonstration against road closures by the Bureau of Land Management. A jury in federal court convicted San Juan County Commissioner Phil Lyman and Monte Wells for their roles in the protest.

The state’s Constitutional Defense Council was asked to kick in $100,000 to pay for any appeal by Lyman. The request by the Utah Association of Counties was withdrawn, but not before many local politicians contributed their own money to the effort — including Governor Gary Herbert.