This is the critical test of whether only pro-environment conscientious objection is prosecuted-

Today about 1000 ATV and 4 x 4 owners are going to deliberately violate the law and charge up the Paria River’s bed in the Grand Staircase/Escalante National Monument. Because they have announced the event as a deliberate violation of the law, it is consciencious objection. The Secretary of Interior’s action will shows us whether only one side on conservation issues gets treated as criminals.

The Salt Lake Tribune writes today of Salazar’s “acid test.“Equal treatment”. Feds must foil OHV lawbreakers. Tribune Editorial.

About The Author

Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan's Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of "Hiking Idaho." He also wrote "Beyond the Tetons" and "Backpacking Wyoming's Teton and Washakie Wilderness." He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

12 Responses to Will Salazar be as tough on law breaking off-road rally as on Tim De Christopher?

  1. Nathan Hobbs says:

    Well the ride happened reports vary between 100-300 riders went up the road. law enforcement was present but it is not mentioned who was there or if they were BLM or county according to the articles i have read nothing was done to stop the ride. With a State representatives offering the opening prayer and a county commisioner speaking out during the event its Clearly a situation where county and state police could be biased to ignore the obvious rule breaking.

    follow the article for photos and more information,

  2. Ron Kearns says:

    As a former USFWS law enforcement officer, cowardice was never part of my job description or actions nor that of *most* of my fellow federal LEOs.

    However, these BLM “officers” and their supervisors exhibited an abundance of professional cowardice in this instance.

  3. Brian Ertz says:

    It’s be interesting to know where the order to not stop the event came from – how high it came from. This event has been publicized for enough time that a decision was made ~ somewhere.

  4. Rick Hammel says:

    Hmmnnn, deja vu all over again! This takes me back to the late 1970s and early 1980s when the California Desert Plan came out. It put a halt, formally, to the Barstow to Vegas motorcycle race, which the BLM suspended after the 1974 race.

    There was a guy who went by the name of the Phantom Duck of the Desert. He did a lot of Op Eds in Cycle News and got the readership fired up. The Duck told people that he ws going to ride the old B to V route on Thanksgiving Saturday. He said that they could ride along if they wished. the first ride drew about 100 riders. it became an annual event and the last one, in 1982, drew around 1000 riders.

    In 1981, the Southern California division of American Motorcyclists Assn went to federal court and sued the BLM for not including their traditional point-to-point races in the Desert Plan. The court agreed. The BLM and the AMA worked out an agreement to reinstute B to V. It was the BLM’s position that there would be far less resource damage by having a controlled event rather than 1000 free spirits wandering all over the desert. The race continued until 1989 and the listing of the desert tortoise on the ESA.
    Thanksgiving 1990 saw a number of riders show up to ride in protest and were met by a large numbe of law enforcement officers. That was the end of the protest rides.

    The moral of this story is: You can protest all you want. But in the end, the Feds are going to win.


  5. Mike says:

    Absolutely *pathetic*. They just let these people break the law right in front of ther faces? Are you kidding me?

    There has to be some sort of legal recourse for paid law enforcement to knowingly allow criminal activity.

  6. Salle says:

    I recall tha, back in the early 1990’s, that there was quite a lot of vehement rhetoric from the county law enforcement and some BLM employees when the road closures were in litigation and ultimately, supposedly, the fed won the case. I also recall tha Gloria Flora was endlessly threatened, and that there was absolutely no effort on the part of agency employees to stop any law breakers, in fact Nevada is much like the Idaho contingent when it comes to hating federal land laws and would cede from the US if they didn’t have to give up all that welfare ranching cash they get… And then there’s the chaining that still tears up the pinion forests. In fact, I also recall that some county in that area claimed that they held ownership of the illegal rodas in the desert and that the fed had no jurisdiction over them and went on to further damage public land by continuing to run graders on the illegal roads and create new ones on public land in order to facilitate welfare ranching that was devastating riparian areas in a very long drought.

    Hey Kenny Salazar, I saw you on Jon Stewart’s “Daily Show” this past week ~ you gave him one of those damned hats and with a disingenuous smile told him that you were “cleaning up” the law-breakers in the Interior. It seems thta most topics of interest were “off limits” for discussion on the show.

    I don’t believe you, Ken Salazar, and I want your job.

  7. Ron Kearns says:

    BLM lets illegal motorheads harm Utah monument

  8. mike post says:

    Federal cops have car payments, mortgages and college funds for their kids. Until someone of high political authority in their organization signals to them that they will be backed up when they enforce laws with significant political baggage, I don’t blame anyone for standing by as long as no violence is present.

  9. jimbob says:

    Who and why would anybody even want to desecrate a river bed ON PURPOSE? I am a wildlife advocate, wilderness advocate, hiker, and more importantly I do ride an ATV FOR TRANSPORTATION! And only where legal and with limited damage sticking only to roads and trails. These guys give all of us a bad name! What a bunch of snobby, selfish, a-holes! If we lose the right to ride anywhere because of a-holes like this we deserve it!

  10. Elizabeth Parker says:

    Hi Ralph et al,

    Here’s an update to the story in the sltrib. Could there be hope here?

  11. Thanks Elizabeth. People will be interested. I’ll try to find more.

  12. Elizabeth Parker says:

    Sorry, the last link was to a short article not the tribune as I mentioned. Here is the link to a longer article about the same on



‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey