Recreational group files suit against Montana travel plan
Many important issues will be decided this November, and the choices will be hard because each of us is most likely in one camp on one issue, and in another camp on a different issue. It seems like one side of the aisle is light on protection and certainly light on funding our public lands, while the other side removes roads from the maintenance budget by simply closing them, and declaring new Wilderness, problem solved. Sort of.
Once Wilderness designation occurs, or once a road is closed, it will NOT be reopened, and will be lost to us forever with only the very rarest of exceptions with road closures. This is not the only issue to be decided this November - and maybe it is not the most important, to you - but it will certainly be a major decision, perhaps permanent, on the direction of public lands management. If you are a hunter, if you are a gun owner, if you are an OHV recreationist, it will absolutely affect you.
Ya thinks through da issues, ya makes yer choices. Vote this November.
September 2, 2008
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Mona Ehnes 406-454-9190
Brian Hawthorne 208-390-5770
RECREATIONAL GROUPS FILE SUIT AGAINST MONTANA TRAVEL PLAN
GREAT FALLS, MT- A coalition of recreational groups has filed a
lawsuit in the U.S. District of Montana challenging the Travel
Management Plan for a portion of the Lewis and Clark National
Forest in north central Montana. According to the suit, over 50
percent of the Forest lands previously open to motorized vehicle
travel were closed by the Travel Plan, which was confirmed as the
Forest Service's final decision in January, 2008.
"We seek balance between protection of natural and historical
resources and the ability of a diverse population to enjoy them,"
said John Borgreen of the Russell Country Sportsmen. "If this
decision is allowed to stand, it will eliminate long-honored
practices like using vehicles for camping and big-game retrieval,
and could force property owners to ride expert-level ATV trails
to gain access to their backcountry cabins. Too many trail
closures can cause, not reduce, environmental damage at a time
when Montanans should proudly defend their rich outdoor culture,"
"We have long recognized the need for responsible management of
all forms of recreation on public lands, and have invested not
only our dollars, but our time and sweat in sound management of
these trails," echoed Mona Ehnes of the Great Falls Trail Bike
Riders Association. "We support managed recreation and the
concept of moving motorized travel to a designated route system,
but this decision went too far and ignored sound science and
public planning requirements," claimed Ehnes.
The Travel Plan implements for the Forest a national rule adopted
in late 2005 that requires Forest Service units to designate
roads, trails and areas for motorized vehicle use. Those plans
must undergo a lengthy public planning process, but the
recreational groups claim that the Forest botched the process
here by failing to identify a preferred alternative to focus
public review, and by ultimately selecting a final decision that
closed more roads, trails and areas than any alternative
considered by the Forest during the process. "We're used to
getting half the loaf," observed Brian Hawthorne, Public Lands
Policy Director for the BlueRibbon Coalition. "But here the
Forest said half a loaf was our worst-case scenario, and then
gave us only two slices," Hawthorne concluded.
Joining the recreational groups are the Specialty Vehicle
Institute of America (SVIA) and the Motorcycle Industry Council
(MIC). SVIA Executive Vice President Paul Vitrano commented,
"SVIA and MIC are strong supporters of managed OHV use; however,
the Lewis and Clark plan favors wholesale closures over effective
management." Vitrano added, "The industry continues to support
the Travel Management Rule as well as efforts by the Forest
Service to effectively manage OHV use, but in some cases, like
the Lewis and Clark, it will be necessary to take additional
steps to ensure an equitable outcome."
The suit was filed by the Russell Country Sportsmen, Montana
Trail Vehicle Riders Association, Great Falls Trail Bike Riders
Association, Great Falls Snowmobile Club, Meagher County Little
Belters, Treasure State Alliance, Motorcycle Industry Council,
Specialty Vehicle Institute of America, and the BlueRibbon
Coalition. Representing the plaintiffs are Paul Turcke of Boise,
Idaho, Bill Horn of Washington, D.C., and Rob Cameron of Helena,
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
September 2, 2008
Heb Dduw, heb ddim; Duw a digon
I'm that gun-totin', farm-raised, evangelical, pro-environment, OHV ridin'/drivin', Southern civil rights pro-labor Liberal yo' momma told you couldn't possibly exist.