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Feds sued over halting Tahoe National Forest access for off-road recreationists

forwarded by Pearl Rains-Hewett

Posted 12/3/2012

Sacramento, CA; July 17, 2012: On behalf of off-road motorized recreational users of the Tahoe National Forest, attorneys with Pacific Legal Foundation today sued the federal government for illegally closing off more than 800 miles of roads and trails that have been used for decades by the public for environmentally responsible off-road motorized recreation, access to camping and fishing, and to assist in the prevention of forest fires.

“We are filing this lawsuit to stop the U.S. Forest Service from illegally padlocking vast areas of the Tahoe National Forest and blocking the public from enjoying responsible recreational use of public lands,” said PLF attorney Brandon M. Middleton.

Donor-supported PLF is a legal watchdog organization that litigates nationwide for limited government, property rights, and a balanced approach to environmental regulations.

PLF attorneys always represent clients without charge. The plaintiffs in this case are organizations and individual recreational users of the forest, including Friends of Tahoe Forest Access (with members in Nevada County, Placer County, and surrounding areas); Nevada County Woods Riders; Grass Valley 4-Wheel Drive Club; High Sierra Motorcycle Club; and Webilt Four Wheel Drive Club, and Friends of Greenhorn, both based in Placer County.

Feds distort a “Travel Management Rule” process to illegally restrict forest access

The lawsuit targets the implementation of the Forest Service’s 2005 Travel Management Rule at the Tahoe National Forest. “The Rule calls for an open and transparent process for designation of roads and trails available to the public for motorized recreation,” said Middleton. “But the implementation of the rule at the Tahoe National Forest has been anything but transparent. Contrary to assurances that public recreational access has been protected, the agency has ended up prohibiting motorized off-road vehicles on hundreds of miles of roads and trails that have been traditionally available to the public for recreational purposes.

“This was a bait and switch game,” Middleton continued. “The Forest Service lulled people into complacency over the 2005 Travel Management Rule and said recreational enthusiasts had nothing to fear. But then, we find out that over 800 miles of roads or trails are going to be blocked off from traditional motorized recreational uses. In the end, less than 50 miles of formerly accessible trails have been left open for off-road motorized use.

“This draconian closure of public access to the Tahoe National Forest is the result of an unlawful process and illegal decision-making, and that is why we are seeking relief in federal court,” Middleton said.

Denying  ALL OF US, 311,000,000 AMERICANS the use of PUBLIC LAND.

Pearl Rains Hewett

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, any copyrighted work in this message is distributed under fair use without profit or payment for non-profit research and educational purposes only. [Ref.]

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