[WATCH] Land-Pimping BLM Is At It Again

in News, Opinion, Videos / by Shae Weatherall / on May 22, 2014 at 9:40 am /

Since the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) recently displayed unnecessary aggression at the Bundy Ranch in Nevada, other ranchers in similar situations across the West are preparing to defend their own ranch operations as well.

Preston Johnson owns a ranch in San Juan County in Utah where he has a deal with the BLM allowing him to graze his livestock on Federal property. He pays the grazing fees but has no illusions that he has any sort of true security should the government choose not to honor their end of the deal.
Many ranchers across the West depend on the use of Federal land for their livelihood. In the case of Johnson’s ranch, they have grazed their livestock on the same land for generations and he has plans for his own children to someday take over.
“I’ve been riding a horse and taking care of them — ever since — ever since someone could hold me on the horse, I’d like one of my kids to take it over. I’ve got children who really like coming out here and taking care of the cows and working… it’s a good family based life style to have.”
The pride and dedication Mr. Johnson has for this generational family operation is remarkable. I understand his anxiety over the thought that it could all be stolen from him and his children at the whim of an over-reaching federal agency.
In an interview with a local news station Mr. Johnson is quoted as saying, “I’ll stay here ’til they have to run me off with everything they got, because I ain’t going nowhere.”

Given the recent situations involving the BLM, I think Johnson’s anxiety and defensive stance are justified.
Besides the debacle in Nevada at the Bundy ranch and the on-going attempt to grab 90,000 acres of land adjoining the Red River on the border of Texas and Oklahoma, the BLM has been busy in Utah as well.
In 2007 they placed ‘no motor-vehicle’ restrictions on an area of land known as Recapture Canyon, not far from the Johnson ranch. The BLM ostensibly claimed concern for the preservation of possible artifacts and endangered species, though the actual existence of the aforementioned is questionable.
Over the next several years locals pleaded with the BLM to reconsider their decision to close off the canyon. Each attempt at communication was completely ignored.
This lack of response prompted Phil Lyman a San Juan County Commissioner to organize a peaceful protest rally recently at the canyon near Blanding, Utah. Dozens of locals as well as several militia members that had previously been showing support at the Bundy ranch, came together to demonstrate solidarity in confronting the BLM’s tyrannical tendencies.
A few of the protestors, in a show of defiance over the prohibition, spontaneously decided to ride their off-road vehicles through the canyon.
BLM Utah State Director Juan Palma expressed his displeasure toward the rogue riders.
“Regrettably, after a peaceful rally in Blanding, Utah, a number of individuals broke the law by driving ATVs through Recapture Canyon where ancient artifacts and dwellings may have been damaged by the riders.”
“As always, our first and most important priority is the safety of the public and our employees, and our actions today reflect that. The BLM’s law enforcement presence today focused on recording and documenting individuals who chose to violate the law by traveling into the closure area on ATVs.”
It sounds to me as if the safety of his appointed position is more important to him than the safety of the local residents. It is also obvious that he brought the “BLM’s law enforcement presence” in the hopes that some individuals would give him the chance to display his “power”. I’ll bet he was internally giddy at the opportunity to “punish” some of the locals for daring to annoy him with wanting full access to their state lands.
Palma later stated the matter of the rebellious riders is still under investigation, noting the BLM “will pursue all available redress through the legal system” to make sure the ATV enthusiasts are prosecuted to the full extent.
I find it disturbing that a bureaucratic government agency, run by appointees rather than elected officials can claim supreme stewardship over state lands, so much so that it causes Americans to be uneasy about the future of their farms and ranches.
In fact, I would contend that the management of state lands should be that state’s responsibility and any revenue that is generated by usage of that land, would belong to the state and not the federal government.
Feel free to comment below. I’d like to know what you think about the land-grabbing BLM.