FARMINGTON — The Bureau of Land Management struggles to keep ATVs, motorcycles and mountain bikes on the mapped trails of the Glade Run Recreation Area to protect the land, but bikers who used heavy equipment to build a track of large jumps took the destruction too far, the BLM said.

Within the past two weeks, seven 5-foot ramps were built into the Glade with heavy machinery on an off-trail track a quarter mile west of the recreation entrance near the intersection of Foothills Drive and Antelope Junction, BLM spokesman Bill Papich said.

"We try to cut everybody as much slack as we can, but this — this blows my mind," Papich said of the destruction of federal land used to build the jump track. "In the seven years since I've been with the BLM, I've never seen anything like this."

Although the 19,000 square acres of federal land is littered with unnatural drilling wells, oil and gas operators go through an arduous application process, which includes paying for geological and environmental impact studies before a shovel comes anywhere near BLM property.

People building jumps should be expected to do the same, Papich said.

The digging, likely done with a backhoe or bucket-loader, could have destroyed artifacts and damaged plant life, both of which are irreparable by simply putting the dirt back where it came from.

"Maybe they thought you can do whatever you want on public land," he said. "I don't think they understood what they did at all."

Kids looking for jumps don't have too many options, Rockin' H Racing owner Scott Hawkes said.

"What good is that dirt anyway if you can't enjoy it with a jump?" Hawkes said.

Other trail riders argued that the wanton destruction of the land goes beyond fun.

"A lot of people that I'm associated with look at it as just destroying the land," said Farmington parks and recreation programmer Shawn Lyle, who organizes annual mountain bike races in the Glade. "Most of the ATVs and motorcyclists, 99.9 percent ride respectfully, but there's been other sites and it does spread."

Motorcycle riders looking for jumps can find natural ramps throughout the Glade if they would take the time to look for them, professional motocross rider Bryant Cope said, suggesting whoever built the jumps likely were beginners unfamiliar with the trails.

"It drives me nuts that all these kids go out and ruin it for everybody else because they do things they shouldn't," he said. "That's what shuts it down for us."

Although signs in the area near the damaged land state destruction of the property could result in $10,000 in fines and up to 10 years in prison, the BLM just wants the land restored as much as possible.

"The only way to come to terms with this is to find the people who did it, and give them a bunch of wheelbarrows and shovels to put it back," Papich said.

BLM officials attempted to block many of the jumps with logs, but most were pulled out of the way when riders returned. Now the BLM says it's staking out the area to find those riding the illicit track.

Anyone with information on who built the track is asked to contact the BLM at (505) 599-6324. Callers can remain anonymous, Papich said.

James Monteleone: jmonteleone@daily-times.com