Colorado Sagebrush Rebel Sentenced in BLM Case

Utah’s Phil Lyman with reporters at the Utah Capitol in June (photo courtesy of SL Tribune)


In what could be a foreshadowing of the types of penalties awaiting San Juan County Commissioner Phil Lyman (specifically in his role in the Recapture Canyon ride on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land), David Justice of Gunnison, Colorado will be spending a month in jail and will pay $4,000 restitution for destroying a barricade on public land administered by the BLM. Additionally, Justice has been banned from all federal lands for two years.

In July of 2013, a protest very similar to Lyman’s action included Justice leading his supporters while ripping out a federally-owned gate across Cushman Creek Trail near Montrose, Colorado. Justice was arrested by the FBI, U.S. Marshals, and BLM agents a year later in July of 2014 after the case was put together by federal prosecutors.

Lyman, convicted in April of conspiracy to lead a group protest into Utah’s Recapture Canyon and of misdemeanor trespass for the act itself, faces up to two years in prison and as much as $200,000 in fines and restitution for his crimes. Lyman’s case involved a closed area that is archeologically sensitive in eastern Utah and one also typical of the so-called “New Sagebrush Rebellion.”

Changing defense teams in July, Lyman’s convictions are being challenged. Appeals will include assertions that Judge Robert J. Shelby should have recused himself from the bench due to a close and personal association involving conservationists, those with an interest in seeing federal lands preserved. Ambiguous RS2477 road designations are also cited as a potential appeal strategy to be employed by Lyman’s counsel.

Shelby has previously waved away a personal connection with Stephen Bloch, head of the Southern Utah Wilderness Association, as being unrelated to the crimes Lyman has been convicted of committing.

2 Replies to “Colorado Sagebrush Rebel Sentenced in BLM Case

  1. The business of most of these environmental groups is to file law suites. The top levels of these groups are lawyers who make a lot of money filing law suits. In order to raise their millions of dollars they feel justified in spreading what ever lie fits their agenda. What should scare people is that there are federal agencies (BLM) that are supporting this agenda, even promoting their own lies. And there are so many pro-environmentalists like this articles author who jump right in with the rest of the lemurs and praise the king. First of the claims this road was illegally constructed in 2005, while the canyon has been traveled by many groups for at least a couple of thousand years, in most recent history it was constructed and used since about 1890. it was designated as a county road, it was on the BLM maps as a road as late as 1976. While the BLM can close a road, there are laws and regulations that must be followed by the BLM, waiting periods, review periods, public discussion, impact analysis, etc. NONE of this occurred. The BLM ignored numerous requests by the county and it’s citizens to address some of these problems? If a road is closed illegally how does that make it legally closed? The archeological sites have been in this canyon for a long time. For over 100 years they have been taken care of by the local citizens. They did not start to see damage until people from along the Wasatch front start coming down here with the attitude that they can do whatever they want, and until the self righteous environmentalist lemurs come down here and trample everything because they believe they are the only ones who care. The BLM has been the most egregious of all groups in the destruction of property and archeological sites. The $100,000 + in damages to the sites in Recapture claimed by the BLM consists of driving through a black spot in the road. Other archeological groups and companies hired to assess the damage in the canyon cannot find any damage, $0. The black spot in the rod is called a midden or ancient trash dump. Other experts have said the black spot could be an old cowboy camp, or a burnt tree. To the BLM that burnt tree is worth $100,000. What is scary here and should concern every one, whether you agree with the protestors or not, is that the Federal government is willing to lie, trump up charges, abuse the judicial system, squelch legal protest, because a group of people disagree with their illegal actions. And because they have unlimited access to tax payers dollars they run unfettered in their abusive behavior.

  2. The bottom line, if you believe Duane Lyman, is that “local” Sagebrush Rebels were riding roughshod over Recapture Canyon in order to preserve it. Nice try.

    Seems to me that calling people who insist on the right to destroy public property or graze public property at no cost, for that matter, romantically call themselves “sagebrush rebels” in the same way thieves who lie to other folks about how investing with them is a good idea call themselves “con artists.”

    Con artists are thieves, and people who destroy public property are likewise not doing anything romantic or patriotic or in any way good.

    And portraying environmentalists who by definition are people who care about our (shared even with people who would destroy it) environment as bad guys is about as silly as it gets. What sort of bizarre world do these people live in, where waste is good and preservation is bad?

    Some of us also do not think defecating in reservoirs should be allowed, either. Please pardon us for our environmentalist leanings.

    Speaking of which, how is every person not at some level an environmentalist? Who raises children to have no respect for the environment and to be so utterly selfish as adults?

    If these Sagebrush Wasters treat their own property and homes the way they want to treat our public lands, they can’t be very pleasant places to live. And if they don’t treat their property the same way, then perhaps they should pay more attention to the golden rule.

    Unfettered in their abusive behavior, indeed.

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