News short: Lyman, Wells sentenced in 2014 Recapture Canyon protest case

In this 2014 file photo, then-County Commissioner for San Juan Commissioner Phil Lyman speaks at a protest rally against BLM at Centennial Park, Blanding, Utah, May 10, 2014 | Photo by Dallas Hyland, St. George News

SALT LAKE CITY – San Juan County Commissioner Phil Lyman and Monte Wells were sentenced in federal court Friday morning for their roles in the 2014 ATV protest ride through Recapture Canyon.

U.S. District Judge David Nuffer sentenced Lyman to serve 10 days in jail and three years of supervised probation. He will surrender himself to state custody after April 30, 2016, when tax season concludes, due to his position as a certified public accountant. He is also being fined $1,000 and ordered to pay $95,000 in restitution.

As a condition of Lyman’s probation, he is banned from making public statements or engaging in behaviors that advocate violation of federal land use laws.

Lyman will be serving his jail time at the Washington County Purgatory Correctional Facility in Hurricane.

Wells has also been sentenced to serve three years probation and five days in jail. He has been ordered to pay a $5,000 fine.

Lyman and Wells were convicted in May by a jury on federal charges of conspiracy and taking motorized vehicle through public lands closed to vehicle use.

The charges stem from the 2014 ATV protest ride into Recapture Canyon in San Juan County that Lyman and others took part in. The ride was in protest of the closure of the area by the Bureau of Land Management.

The Bureau of Land Management shut off access to the canyon in 2007, citing the need to prevent damage to Native American archeological sites in the area. Local residents felt the BLM closure was arbitrary and bypassed a mandated federal review process.

This is a developing story.

St. George News reporter Mori Kessler contributed to this article.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2015, all rights reserved.


Free News Delivery by Email

Would you like to have the day's news stories delivered right to your inbox every evening? Enter your email below to start!


  • native born new mexican December 18, 2015 at 4:51 pm

    I wish Phil and his family my very best. Those of us here in Washington county need to find out when he is going to be visiting us and be sure he gets lots of cards with support messages. I respect what he did and support him 100%. After Phil does his time in jail lets put the BLM director and some of his cronies in jail next. I am thinking a charge of treason should do it.

    • 42214 December 18, 2015 at 8:03 pm

      blah blah blah. Got what he asked for, martyrdom from fools like you.

    • Chris December 18, 2015 at 8:19 pm

      You and Phil Lyman deserve each other. You are both dumb as rocks.

      • .... December 19, 2015 at 5:19 pm

        So you talks to rocks do you ?

    • Rainbow Dash December 18, 2015 at 9:05 pm

      In this case, the punishment fit the crime. I wish he and his family the best in the future and I hope that he learns from this but I certainly don’t support his views or his actions in this situation so I won’t be sending him or his family cards with lots of support messages and I hope no one else does either. Further, if I’m honest, I’m glad he was charged in a Federal court where there is less of a chance the judge is on the Momon cult’s take.

    • Terry December 18, 2015 at 10:45 pm

      Yep, well put??

    • Bender December 18, 2015 at 11:40 pm

      Yeah, he’s a true American hero Native Born. Didn’t even have the courage of his convictions to stand by his actions. He’s a punk and a blowhard.

  • 42214 December 18, 2015 at 5:42 pm

    He should have said black lives matter and he would have gotten away with it.

    • .... December 19, 2015 at 5:21 pm

      Well either black lives or Muslim lives matter is approved by the president !

  • izzymuse December 18, 2015 at 9:43 pm

    Just have to say I love the author’s picture! Seriously, Tracie has the best photo. ???
    Makes me happy. Shows good humor and still cool.

    • 42214 December 19, 2015 at 6:21 pm

      Looks like she’s constipated

      • ladybugavenger December 19, 2015 at 11:54 pm

        Looks like meth

  • KarenS December 18, 2015 at 10:00 pm

    I hope Mr. Wells really meant what he said at sentencing. His quote follows: “I have put my family through a continuing nightmare, placing my liberty and their security at risk,” Wells said. “I have come to learn through painful experience the right to protest as with all other rights, exists largely because it’s not absolute, meaning that with rights come responsibilities. I don’t have the right to take away the rights of others.” As the prosecution pointed out, there were numerous lawful ways to express and work for change in policies. Mr Lyman and Mr. Wells ignored the law and now, thankfully, will have to pay the price. Justice was served.

    • RealMcCoy December 19, 2015 at 3:53 pm

      If only he had ridden his ATV through Hurricane.
      Ride through a canyon: jail time and a fine; cook a baby in a car: no charges, a new front yard remodel, and a #fundraiser.

  • Larry December 18, 2015 at 10:12 pm

    Good riddance Phil. Hopefully, your political career will be over soon as well. You’re a disgrace to the county and the state of Utah.

  • 42214 December 19, 2015 at 9:20 am

    Well native born, you don’t seem to have any support on this one. Maybe you can enjoy a conjugal visit with Phil in Purgatory.

  • .... December 19, 2015 at 2:56 pm

    Native born and Mesaman must be related

  • ladybugavenger December 19, 2015 at 10:23 pm

    I’m all for fighting for what you believe in. Heck, the days will go by fast and you’ll be out of jail before you know it. It’s the probation that will be hard, they make you not fight no more. Good luck to you!!!! You fought for good! ( no evil intent )

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.