Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Colo. group sues Forest Service over trails

The controversy over travel management in the San Juan National Forest has landed in federal court with a lawsuit filed by the Colorado chapter of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers. At the heart of the lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court on Dec. 2, is the group’s assertion that the Forest Service has unlawfully authorized off-road vehicle use on 14 trails – 80 miles – in the Rico-West Dolores travel-management area. The Rico-West Dolores area covers 244,550 acres, encompassing federal lands surrounding Bear Creek, Taylor Mesa and around Rico, Dunton, Black Mesa and Stoner Mesa. The lawsuit names the U.S. Forest Service, the agency’s Chief Thomas Tidwell and San Juan National Forest Supervisor Mark Stiles as defendants, according to the court documents. The Backcountry Hunters and Anglers complaint claims the 14 trails at the heart of the lawsuit are closed to motorized vehicles under the San Juan Public Lands Draft Management Plan, and yet “the Forest Service has permitted and encouraged the use of two-wheeled ORV’s (motorcycles) on these trails.”...more

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