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Former Great Old Broads For Wilderness Associate Director Facing Charges In Southeast Utah

James Burke
Creative Commons

A former associate director of the Durango-based environmental group Great Old Broads for Wilderness is facing criminal charges related to an incident in San Juan County, Utah.

But the group’s current executive director, Shelley Silbert, says the charges could be politically motivated. According to the county sheriff’s office, Rose Chilcoat and her husband, Mark Franklin, both were charged with trespassing on state trust land, a misdemeanor. Chilcoat, who retired last year, was also charged with providing false information to a police officer because she allegedly identified herself as Rose Franklin. The Sheriff’s Office says on April 1st, a rancher between Bluff and Mexican Hat found that a gate had been closed, preventing his cattle from accessing a water hole. Video surveillance showed a vehicle. Three days later, the rancher saw the same vehicle and called authorities, who found Chilcoat and Franklin inside. Franklin reportedly admitted closing the gate and has been additionally charged with attempted wanton destruction of livestock, a felony. In an email, Silbert says Great Old Broads would never condone any action that would endanger cattle or other animals. She adds, “I’m quite surprised that the . . . Sheriff’s Office filed criminal charges and then put out a press release over a gate being left shut. It’s my understanding, the ranchers had taken a portion of the fence down and cattle were freely able to access water. I’m deeply concerned that these charges could be politically motivated retaliation for Rose’s efforts over the years to bring stronger protections to public lands.”

*CORRECTION: this post originally had stated that Rose Chilcoat was a former director of Great Old Broads For Wilderness, but Chilcoat had served as an associate director, not director.

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