San Juan county suing to control hotly contested road

Published on December 01, 2017 at 01:53PM

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A southern Utah county is suing for control of a canyon road that’s been a longtime flashpoint in the debate over federal control of public lands.

San Juan County argues in the Wednesday lawsuit that longtime use of Recapture Canyon road gives them legal title to the road on federal land.

Tensions have been high since the Bureau of Land Management banned motor vehicles in parts of Recapture Canyon to protect ancient archaeological sites in 2007.

Frustrated local leaders argue they did it without due process. In 2014, San Juan County commissioner Phil Lyman led an ATV protest ride through the canyon. He was convicted of federal misdemeanor charges.

U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke lifted the ban in some areas in April, but the canyon bottom remained closed to motorized vehicles.