Utah desert ‘monolith’ removed by unknown party, BLM confirms | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Utah desert ‘monolith’ removed by unknown party, BLM confirms

Vail Daily Staff Report

The Bureau of Land Management confirmed during a site visit on Saturday that an unknown party or parties removed the illegally installed structure referred to as the “monolith” sometime on the evening of Friday, Nov. 27.

Bureau of Land Management did not remove the structure which had been recently discovered on public lands in the Monticello Field Office. Over the course of Thanksgiving week, a relatively large number of people visited the site, which has not been developed for heavy visitation.

The structure received national and international interest and sparked a dialogue regarding who installed it and what it symbolized, generating widespread attention. The Bureau of Land Management received both positive and negative input regarding the status of the structure and was investigating who installed it when a person or group removed it. Any development on public lands must be approved by the Bureau of Land Management and is subject to applicable laws, such as the Federal Land Policy and Management Act and the National Environmental Policy Act.

“We recognize the incredible interest the ‘monolith’ has generated world-wide. Many people have been enjoying the mystery and view it as a welcome distraction from the 2020 news cycle,” said Monticello Field Manager Amber Denton Johnson. “Even so, it was installed without authorization on public lands and the site is in a remote area without services for the large number of people who now want to see it. Whenever you visit public lands please follow Leave No Trace principles and Federal and local laws and guidance.”

Visitors who flocked to the site parked on vegetation and left behind human waste as evidence of their visit, according to Bureau of Land Management. The undeveloped area does not have restrooms or a parking lot. The Bureau of Land Management recommends that visitors not attempt to visit the site, which has no cell service and requires high clearance vehicles; passenger vehicles have already been towed from the area. Officials are reminding the public that driving off designated roads and trails in the Monticello Field Office is illegal.

The Monticello Field Office has a number of remarkable places to explore that have been developed for visitation. For more information, visit: https://www.blm.gov/office/monticello-field-office

The Bureau of Land Management asks the public to use Leave No Trace principles when visiting public lands.

The Vail Daily News is a sister publication to the Tribune.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around the Lake Tahoe Basin and beyond make the Tahoe Tribune's work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.