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Southern Ute Indian Tribe, Colorado

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Federal authorities are closing a popular motocross area after discovering it is atop a significant American Indian archaeological site. Howard Richards, director of the Southern Utes' Department of Natural Resources, said the Bureau of Land Management failed to consult with the tribe, as required by law. "The area we're talking about is ancestral homeland of Ute people. It's our home." It was a decision the motorcyclists didn't want to hear, but we couldn't allow that activity to happen at any cost.'' As a result, the (BLM) will return a $20,000 state grant a motorcycle group planned to use to improve and expand the racetrack, never formally approved by the agency. "The intent was to provide a variety of recreational uses within the Bocco Mountain area,'' said BLM planner Dorothy Morgan. "Specific trails were left to future planning.'' Morgan said the agency had no option but to close the area once Ute officials pointed out the significance. The motorcyclists are frustrated with the BLM's abrupt about-face, which came four years after different BLM planners promised to formally approve a track that riders had been using for more than 15 years. It hoped to build a new parking lot and trailhead, along with 4 miles of track

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