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Access Groups File Appeal on Eldorado NF Travel Management Plan

Access Groups File Appeal on Eldorado NF Travel Management Plan

May 29, 2008

The BlueRibbon Coalition, along with numerous participating individual and organizational members, including (but not limited to) the California Enduro Riders Association, American Motorcyclists Association D36 and the California Association of 4 Wheel Drive Clubs, filed an administrative appeal of the Eldorado National Forest Public Wheeled Motorized Travel Management plan.

The Travel Plan closed over 1000 miles of existing roads and trails across the forest, and not just the so-called "user created" routes, but also roads and trails that had long been depicted as open to travel in previous Forest Service travel maps.

The appeal, filed on May 15, 2008, alleged the Forest Service violated numerous provisions of law and regulation including failing to formulate a reasonable range of alternatives, failing to provide adequate analysis to justify the massive closures, inadequate provision for dispersed camping/big game retrieval, and illegal application of the 2001 "Roadless Rule."

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Save Tellico Now - Before There Is Nothing Left To Save

Caving under the pressure of SELC and TU, the Forest Service announced on December 18, 2007 there would be a seasonal closure of the entire trail system and Trails Lower 2, 7, and 9 would be closed for a year to assess the condition of the trails to see what needs to be done.

Closing trails does not address the issues and SFWDA feels that the Forest Service took steps that are not correct. This lawsuit is intended to reopen the trails that were improperly closed.

SFWDA has worked with the US Forest Service in the Tellico OHV area for over 20 years, providing free maintenance and restoration work to address the agency-wide maintenance backlog estimated nationwide at over $100 billion. The trail maintance, clean up, and volunteer work we have donated to the area is well over $100,000 just in the past few years. SFWDA values the relationship we have with the US Forest Service and plan to continue the work, volunteering and cleaning up as we've done in the past.

What are the effects of the closures?
The impact of closing the trails has greatly wounded the economy in the area. Not only are there fewer places to ride in the Upper Tellico area, but local businesses have felt the impact. Cabin Rentals, Campgrounds, parts stores have all seen a decrease in business. Outside of the impact to the economy, this act sets a precedent for large special interest groups to bully our government to preferentially close access to public land to one user group.

What you can do
Frankly, law suits are not cheap. We need your donations. You can donate online at www.SFWDA.org or Tax deductible at www.sharetrails.org/rescue-tellico or donate tax deductible through the United Land Action Fund at P.O. Box 15696, Chesapeake, VA 23328. You can purchase Rescue Tellico Items at www.cafepress.com/rescuetellico. All proceeds are donated to the Rescue Tellico Fund.

At the very least we need your membership. If you are not a member of any or all the below mentioned groups we need you. Please join us so that you can have your voice counted in unison with ours. If you have always wondered, what does my membership get me, here is your answer. SFWDA, UFWDA, and BRC are fighting to keep trails open so we have places to ride.

Please spread the word. This is not only a 4x4 problem but ATV, Motorcycle and UTV's are affected as well.

Who's Who

The Blue Ribbon Coalition is a national recreation group that champions responsible use of public and private lands, and encourages individual environmental stewardship. It represents over 10,000 individual members and 1,200 organization and business members, for a combined total of over 600,000 recreationists nationwide. 1-800-258-3742. www.sharetrails.org

United Four Wheel Drive Associations is an international organization comprised of four wheel drive enthusiasts, clubs, associations, and businesses dedicated to providing community services around the world, education in responsible land use and safe vehicle operation, and protection of our natural resources through conservation practices. 1-800-448-3932. www.ufwda.org

Southern Four Wheel Drive Association (SFWDA) was founded in 1987 to promote responsible land use and to keep public lands accessible for motorized recreation. Since the formation of Southern Four Wheel Drive Association, the focus and mission is to promote responsible land use and to help keep public lands open for motorized recreation. For more information on the activities and accomplishments of Southern Four Wheel Drive Association, please visit www.SFWDA.org or contact us at 1483 N. Mt. Juliet Road, PMB # 222, Mt. Juliet, TN 37122

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More Developments in the Yellowstone Courtrooms

More Developments in the Yellowstone Courtrooms

Date: 05/27/2008

Last month we provided you an update on the end of the winter season in Yellowstone and summarized the early posturing in the various challenges to the new winter use rule in federal courts in Washington DC and Wyoming. Rulings have since issued on some of those motions, making a new update appropriate.

You will recall that Park Service defendants had filed motions in both courts seeking to have the cases consolidated in one forum. The DC court denied the motion in an order filed April 24, 2008. The Wyoming court similarly denied the motion in an order filed May 14, 2008. As a result, it appears we will face the potential for conflicting decisions from the DC and Wyoming courts as occurred during the last round of litigation. Both courts emphasized the importance of honoring a plaintiff's choice of venue, with the Wyoming court making it clear it has no intent of relinquishing jurisdiction in stating: "[t]he D.C. Petitioners, largely environmental action groups, have tried to circumvent this Court's continuing jurisdiction by conveniently filing their action in a Court over 2000 miles away. By granting the Federal Respondents' motion to transfer, this Court would in effect be condoning this type of inappropriate litigation practice. Luckily, this Court knows blatant forum shopping when confronted with it. As the private and public factors heavily favor the Petitioners, the motion to transfer must be denied."

In an additional procedural matter, the Wyoming court, on May 23, 2008, granted a motion to compel production of further documents filed by the State of Wyoming. In producing the administrative record, the Park Service defendants withheld approximately 35 documents, claiming them to be protected by deliberative and/or attorney-client privilege. The State of Wyoming successfully argued that defendants must produce a "privilege log" identifying these documents so that the parties and the court can evaluate whether the privilege(s) are correctly asserted.

The schedules for briefing the merits are set, with the anti-access plaintiffs having filed their opening materials in DC on May 9, 2008. The defendants and defendant-intervenors are scheduled to respond on June 16, 2008. That is the same day that opening materials are due from the "petitioners" State of Wyoming et al. in the Wyoming court. Briefing will continue in all cases throughout the summer, with final argument on the motions in the DC court set for August 27, 2008, and in the Wyoming court for September 15, 2008.

In the context of administrative law, this practically qualifies as high drama. The International Snowmobile Association (ISMA), American Council of Snowmobile Associations (ACSA), and the BlueRibbon Coalition (BRC) will be actively involved in all of these cases and will be busy defending continued reasonable snowmobile access to the Parks.

For additional details and continuing updates, please visit our dedicated Yellowstone website at (www.saveyellowstonepark.com).

Contacts

Jack Welch, Special Projects Consultant, BlueRibbon Coalition
- Phone: (303) 279-8436 or Cell (303) 324-7185
- Fax: (303) 279-8214
- Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
- Webpage: http://www.sharetrails.org/staff/#JackW
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RECREATION GROUPS TO FILE LAWSUIT AGAINST FOREST SERVICE TO RESTORE ACCESS

On December 18, 2007, the agency issued a closure order which UFWDA, BRC, and Southern contend is based on outdated and incomplete science. The law suit will seek to declare unlawful and set aside the closure order.

"Our organizations value their relationship with the Forest Service, however management by closure does not address the issues we need to be surmounting through collaborative and creative efforts," observed Jay Bird, of Southern Four Wheel Drive Associations. "There is no defensible scientific correlation between OHV use and water quality, erosion, and sedimentation issues in this area, and our organizations have long demonstrated their dedication to the environment and support of trout populations in the area through user education, route maintenance and improvement. Active and effective management of motorized recreation, not prohibition, is the only good answer for protecting water quality and species habitat at the Upper Tellico OHV area," Bird concluded.

Further information about the plaintiff organizations, including information about developments in this action and others, can be found as indicated below.

# # #

The BlueRibbon Coalition is a national recreation group that champions responsible use of public and private lands, and encourages individual environmental stewardship. It represents over 10,000 individual members and 1,200 organization and business members, for a combined total of over 600,000 recreationists nationwide. 1-800-258-3742. www.sharetrails.org

United Four Wheel Drive Associations is an international organization comprised of four wheel drive enthusiasts, clubs, associations, and businesses dedicated to providing community services around the world, education in responsible land use and safe vehicle operation, and protection of our natural resources through conservation practices. 1-800-448-3932. www.ufwda.org

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Reward offered for vandalism tip


According to the National Park Service investigation, two sets of footprints were found along the edge of the fence line that extended from the dunes to the waters edge. No footprints or tire tracks were observed entering the closed area which was established to protect a least tern colony; no birds appeared to have been disturbed during the act of vandalism.

A recent court approved Consent Degree requires the National Park Service to automatically expand the closure area by 50 meters where a confirmed deliberate act disturbs or harasses wildlife or vandalizes fencing, nests, or plants. The vandal(s) action leading to the subsequent enclosure enlargement have not caused harm to the birds but have caused additional harm to the businesses and ORV community recreating and fishing at Cape Hatteras!

Anyone having information please contact:

  • United Four Wheel Drive Association (UFWDA)
    (757) 546-7969
  • BlueRibbon Coalition (BRC)
    (208) 237-1008

Each person submitting a tip will receive a code number for them to use in tracking the status of their tip. Tips made to UFWDA or BRC can be made anonymously, no caller ID is used and caller need not identify themselves.

Or, contact Ranger Davis Carter of the National Parks Service, at 252-475-8326, P.O. Box 190, Buxton, NC 27920

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OutdoorWire, 4x4Wire, JeepWire, TrailTalk, MUIRNet-News, and 4x4Voice are all trademarks and publications of OutdoorWire, Inc. and MUIRNet Consulting. Copyright (c) 1999-2019 OutdoorWire, Inc and MUIRNet Consulting - All Rights Reserved, no part of this publication may be reproduced in any form without express written permission. You may link freely to this site, but no further use is allowed without the express written permission of the owner of this material. All corporate trademarks are the property of their respective owners.