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Utah monolith: Bureau of Land Management says increase in visitors to area did harm to land

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Posted at 5:49 AM, Nov 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-30 08:49:20-05

MOAB, Utah — After a suddenly world-famous "monolith" of unknown origin was removed by an unknown person or group late Friday night, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) said there was a sharp increase in visitors to the area — many of whom failed to follow fundamental rules of recreating on public land.

The installation itself, the BLM pointed out, was illegal — although the agency added that for some, it was "a welcome distraction from the 2020 news cycle."

The BLM added that it did not remove the monolith or call for its removal and was in the midst of investigating where it came from when it vanished.

The agency was concerned that the area was not "developed for heavy visitation," yet throngs of people showed up, mostly during Thanksgiving week.

The agency said that many visitors parked their vehicles on vegetation and drove off of designated roads and trails, both of which are illegal. They also said some visitors left behind human waste since there were no bathrooms in the area.

The BLM reminded the public that there are "a number of remarkable places to explore that have been developed for visitation."

When visiting these areas and any other public lands, they urge people to follow the "Leave No Trace" principles, found here.

This story was originally published by Spencer Burt on KSTU in Salt Lake City.