MOAB, Utah — Just as quick as it swept international headlines, a "monolith" discovered in the remote Utah desert has been removed by an unknown party, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) confirmed on Saturday.
"BLM confirmed during a site visit on Saturday that an unknown party or parties removed the illegally installed structure referred to as the 'monolith' sometime on the evening of Friday, Nov. 27," read a statement from BLM.
The monolith was discovered by a Utah Department of Public Safety Aero Bureau crew on November 18, 2020. The crew was working with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources to conduct a count of big horn sheep when they spotted the monolith, landed nearby, and investigated.
“We recognize the incredible interest the ‘monolith’ has generated world-wide. Many people have been enjoying the mystery and view it as a welcome distraction from the 2020 news cycle,” stated Monticello Field Manager Amber Denton Johnson. “Even so, it was installed without authorization on public lands and the site is in a remote area without services for the large number of people who now want to see it."
The agency was investigating who had installed the structure — as it was done so without the approval of the BLM or under the Federal Land Policy and Management Act and the National Environmental Policy Act— when it was removed by the unknown party on Friday.
The monolith was located in a remote area of the Utah desert southwest of Moab and had generated heavy visitation to the site over the Thanksgiving weekend, according to BLM, which stated the site had not been developed for such visitation.
"Whenever you visit public lands please follow Leave No Trace principles and Federal and local laws and guidance,” stated Johnson.
While the mysterious monolith may no longer be available for those seeking adventure, the BLM says there are plenty of remarkable places to explore that have been developed for visitation. For more information, visit the BLM's website at https://www.blm.gov/office/monticello-field-office.