2001: A Space Odyssey in Utah

Rockskipper

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I'm glad it's gone, especially after reading about all the cars and people trashing everything. As for putting it in Moab, why? Moab has enough tourist crap already. I lived in Moab for over 10 years and finally sold my house and left when the number of people everywhere became overbearing. It's the last thing Moab needs. And the BLM already said it wasn't theirs to decide what to do with, as it was categorized as private property on public lands and was up to the local sheriff. I applaud those who removed it. It wasn't their responsibility to restore the area, and by removing it they prevented more damage. As for doing it in the dark, why not? Most good monkeywrenching is done in the dark. They probably didn't want their pictures on the front of BBC news (yes, they even covered the story). And whoever installed it did it anonymously, so why should those removing it advertise who they are?
 

Nick

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The monolith should be put in a city park in Moab. The people that removed it are total hypocrites. They did not restore the area. They ripped it out in the middle of the night like a bunch of thieves. It should have been left for the BLM to decide what to do. If you are really concerned about leaving no trace there is a ton of trash that could be removed from public lands.

This is such a ridiculous argument. It's like saying someone shouldn't try to put out a fire unless they're going to replant all the trees too. Those guys were not hypocrites, they were heroes. Whether you thought the monolith was beautiful or not, the fact is that putting it there was ILLEGAL and that area was in no way setup to accommodate the onslaught of visitors. No one can know for sure now, but the BLM would have had to address this soon. Do you really think they would have done it by providing parking areas, trails and pit toilets, or more likely removing the trash that was drawing people in??? Leaving it up just for another week or two would have caused so much more damage. Just because the trash was pretty, doesn't mean it wasn't trash. Pack it in, pack it out applies to art too.
 

LarryBoy

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Honestly I'm pretty happy with how this all played out. Lockhart Basin is now a in the public consciousness - a place that's been under a lot of fire for energy-development reasons. It had its fifteen minutes of fame, but the fact that it's now more than a "blank spot on the map" is probably a good thing, especially since the crowds will disappear now that there's no shiny object to gaze at.

Also, keep in mind that this object was placed within the borders of the once-and-hopefully-future Bears Ears NM. The whole kerfuffle is probably a pretty good argument that "security by obscurity" is no longer sufficient protection for the landscape, and that a (restored) designation is needed. And if even a few more people care about Lockhart than they did last week, and write their congressional representatives, then I see it as a win.

Also, I'm sure the towing companies are loving this!
 

Bob

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I'm glad it's gone, but I really wish the BLM would have taken a stand and done something about it. It's no wonder no one follows the rules, the BLM doesn't enforce anything...
Afraid of getting sued for removing private property? In this day and age.... Maybe?
 

Nick

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This idea that they couldn't remove it because it was private property is baffling to me. If someone dumps a pile of garbage on BLM land, do they leave it so they won't get sued for moving private property? Of course not, so what's the difference. If you abandon things on public lands, there's no reasonable expectation that it won't get removed, aka your mess cleaned up, regardless if it's a pile of trash or a few sheets of metal riveted together.
 

Rockskipper

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From KSL:

For this reason, officials from the Utah Division of Arts & Heritage offered a scathing rebuke of the monolith on social media before the monument was taken down. They point out that no matter how you view the monolith, it was still damaging to public land.

"While the monolith has better craftsmanship than graffiti, this is still vandalism," officials from the agency tweeted in a thread. "It irreversibly altered the natural environment on public lands. While the monolith is interesting, we cannot condone vandalism of any type."

(My original reply had more but something ate it (not my dog, he's not virtual).)
 
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LarryBoy

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This idea that they couldn't remove it because it was private property is baffling to me. If someone dumps a pile of garbage on BLM land, do they leave it so they won't get sued for moving private property? Of course not, so what's the difference. If you abandon things on public lands, there's no reasonable expectation that it won't get removed, aka your mess cleaned up, regardless if it's a pile of trash or a few sheets of metal riveted together.

Good point. Allow me, though, to play Devil's Advocate here:

The question is - is this thing more like a hunk of garbage, or more like a bicycle? I certainly wouldn't want the BLM to scrap my bike just because I had the termity to go backpacking for a few days and left it in Lockhart. They'd certainly be within their rights to do so, but only after they'd put out public notice that the owner should claim their property within 90 days (or whatever the law is in Utah) or it'd be escheated.

Even though I personally think the monolith is corny, it's certainly an object that has value to some people - like a bike, and unlike a Snickers wrapper. So I can definitely see following established policies and procedures. And I can also see where they wouldn't want to put out a statement saying "claim your stupid aluminum pole within 90 days or we'll remove it", because that would immediately send a counterproductive flood of people to the site so they could see it before it was removed.
 

regehr

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So how hard is the Lockhart Basin road? It's an area I've wanted to get into but never visited. Ok for a stock 4runner or simiilar?
 

Nick

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The question is - is this thing more like a hunk of garbage, or more like a bicycle? I certainly wouldn't want the BLM to scrap my bike just because I had the termity to go backpacking for a few days and left it in Lockhart. They'd certainly be within their rights to do so, but only after they'd put out public notice that the owner should claim their property within 90 days (or whatever the law is in Utah) or it'd be escheated.

True, but to counter that, it was pretty clear that this object had been there for 4+ years. I've stashed a bike for a multi-day backpack trip and worried that it could get taken so we locked it to a tree. In retrospect it probably would be even smarter to leave a little note on it like you would for a cache for a long trip, or that cooler full of beer I illegally hid in the bushes at Spanish Bottom once.

 

LarryBoy

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True, but to counter that, it was pretty clear that this object had been there for 4+ years. I've stashed a bike for a multi-day backpack trip and worried that it could get taken so we locked it to a tree. In retrospect it probably would be even smarter to leave a little note on it like you would for a cache for a long trip, or that cooler full of beer I illegally hid in the bushes at Spanish Bottom once.

Funny enough, I buried several resupply caches this summer, and in each case, I put a note, under a thin layer of dirt, saying "RIP Fluffy" with a random internet poodle picture. People may be interested in digging up a cache (esp since the Forrest Fenn treasure hadn't been found yet IIRC), but they're certainly not interested in digging up a dog grave!

Still, while a note is definitely a good idea, it doesn't mean that a government agency is justified in removing property without playing by the rules. In that sense, the extrajudicial removal by random people may have been for the best.
 

LarryBoy

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Rockskipper

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I left an Altoids tin about 10 years ago in the rocks above Burro Seep with a note in it that said, "Be kind to the animals 'cause you are one."

Someone took it, probably the same monkeywrenchers who took the gonolith. I wonder if they took my tin under the cover of darkness? I bet these guys are responsible for taking lots of junk out of the desert, kind of like the rhino who always stomped out fires in the Gods Must Be Crazy.
 

Cabo

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I’m just waiting for it to show up for sale on eBay at some ridiculous price. I don’t think we as individuals should be taking the law into our own hands. If we see a goblin and decide it’s dangerous should we push it over? Do we use some pioneer cabin on public lands for our camp fire wood? Am I good to take my sander and remove all the dots from Gooseberry Mesa and almost every sandstone trail in Moab. Most were initially places illegally. Can I remove the chains from Angels Landing. How about Half Dome? Talk about desecrating sacred lands. Maybe I’ll start ripping out all the bolts and webbing and Ghosting every canyon because I can and it will keep more people out. Do I get to kill cattle that find their way into areas they should not be in. I’m not opposed to the removal just the way it was done. No way in hell these people are heroes for doing this.


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LarryBoy

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I’m just waiting for it to show up for sale on eBay at some ridiculous price. I don’t think we as individuals should be taking the law into our own hands. If we see a goblin and decide it’s dangerous should we push it over? Do we use some pioneer cabin on public lands for our camp fire wood? Am I good to take my sander and remove all the dots from Gooseberry Mesa and almost every sandstone trail in Moab. Most were initially places illegally. Can I remove the chains from Angels Landing. How about Half Dome? Talk about desecrating sacred lands. Maybe I’ll start ripping out all the bolts and webbing and Ghosting every canyon because I can and it will keep more people out. Do I get to kill cattle that find their way into areas they should not be in. I’m not opposed to the removal just the way it was done. No way in hell these people are heroes for doing this.


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I think there's a legitimate debate to be had whether it was right or wrong to remove this particular object... but ^^^^ this clearly fallacious slippery-slope argument isn't it.
 

gnwatts

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I am glad it is gone also. Mainly because of the people and notoriety. I have mixed emotions about this. Like I said before our government trashes and desecrates our wild lands everyday, for profit or the pursuit thereof. Yet this thing is vilified and called a violation of the same wild lands, yet it appears it was not for profit, it didn't harm anyone physically. I am a person who believes in civil disobedience, if it harms no one, or by extension the environment among other things. No one is going to convince me that the environment (or anybody) was harmed here, the exception being the damage done by the mob. I am happy that this thing has started a conversation about this.
But where does it stop? Is placing protection on a rock face, or guard rails and and lengths of chain along a sketchy trail to keep people from killing themselves ok? I could go on but I won't.
 

gnwatts

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......Am I good to take my sander and remove all the dots from Gooseberry Mesa and almost every sandstone trail in Moab. Most were initially places illegally. Can I remove the chains from Angels Landing. How about Half Dome? Talk about desecrating sacred lands. Maybe I’ll start ripping out all the bolts and webbing and Ghosting every canyon because I can and it will keep more people out. Do I get to kill cattle that find their way into areas they should not be in. I’m not opposed to the removal just the way it was done. No way in hell these people are heroes for doing this.


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Exactly my point. You beat me to it, before I could post.
 

Jackson

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I’m just waiting for it to show up for sale on eBay at some ridiculous price. I don’t think we as individuals should be taking the law into our own hands. If we see a goblin and decide it’s dangerous should we push it over? Do we use some pioneer cabin on public lands for our camp fire wood? Am I good to take my sander and remove all the dots from Gooseberry Mesa and almost every sandstone trail in Moab. Most were initially places illegally. Can I remove the chains from Angels Landing. How about Half Dome? Talk about desecrating sacred lands. Maybe I’ll start ripping out all the bolts and webbing and Ghosting every canyon because I can and it will keep more people out. Do I get to kill cattle that find their way into areas they should not be in. I’m not opposed to the removal just the way it was done. No way in hell these people are heroes for doing this.


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I think almost every example you listed is very easily distinguished from what happened here. You're talking about actual natural features, historic buildings that existed before lands were protected, safety features lawfully emplaced by governmental agencies, and livestock that otherwise was lawfully grazing and cannot be blamed for finding its way into protected areas. I think you have a point with illegally placed bolts and webbing though. However, what happened here was deliberate littering that didn't even serve a function like bolts and webbing. It was intentional, illegal, and was done after the land was protected.

That said, yes, it would have been nice if some part of the bureaucracy could've removed it, but I'm not disappointed someone beat them to it.
 

gnwatts

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@LarryBoy I don't think it is a slippery slope:

"an idea or course of action which will lead to something unacceptable, wrong, or disastrous."
Nothing unacceptable, wrong or disastrous will come of this.
 

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