Gov. Mike Leavitt will be able to move a little more dirt on his ranch thanks to a Nevada group formed to fight the federal government on land issues.
The Jarbridge Shovel Brigade recognized the governor Friday for his leadership on a lawsuit to claim legal ownership of rural Utah roads. It presented him a ceremonial gold shovel and a work shovel for his Loa ranch "to make sure the roads down there stay open," said Grant Gerber, an Elko attorney and brigade member.
In accepting the award, Leavitt reiterated his "our roads, our rights" cry regarding what are known as RS2477 roads.
Ironically, many county leaders in southern Utah had criticized the governor for not jumping in on the lawsuit much sooner than he did.
Brigade members stopped off at the Capitol en route to Ohio with some 1,000 shovels for farmers who are countering a federal effort to turn their land into a wildlife preserve. They will hold a shovel-gathering demonstration at the Federal Building this morning at 10.
The organization was founded by people fighting to keep a dirt road open in a northeastern Nevada canyon near the remote town of Jarbridge.