Recreation Advocates React to Stanislaus NF Court Decision
Sacramento, CA (January 8, 2013) -- The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California issued a decision on January 4, 2013, that found a legal flaw in the 2009 motorized travel management decision issued by the Stanislaus National Forest. Judge Kimberly Mueller has set a hearing on February 15 to consider remedies.
The Court ruled in favor of the Forest Service and recreational intervenors on many claims in the case, including challenges to the range of alternatives and cumulative impacts under the National Environmental Policy Act. However, the Court found lacking the agency's discussion of how it sought to "minimize" specified effects of continuing motorized access as required by agency regulations. While the Court did not make a finding that damage has occurred or is illegally occurring under the challenged decision, the Court concluded "...the Forest Service has not made the required showing that it minimized environmental impacts as required by" its travel management rule.
Paul Turcke, counsel for the recreation group intervenors, states, "We are in the process of reviewing the decision. An appropriate remedy will focus on the manner in which the agency properly conducts any omitted steps in the process, which may but does not necessitate any particular change to the designated network of motorized routes on the Stanislaus Forest. We will continue to advocate for properly managed motorized access at future proceedings before the court and the agency."
John Stewart, Resources Consultant for California Association of 4 Wheel Drive Clubs, states, "The Stanislaus NF engaged in a public process to determine a sustainable system of routes to meet forest needs as required and solicited the public in an open process according to established rules."
The recreation intervenors led by the California Association of 4 Wheel Drive Clubs, including the BlueRibbon Coalition and the AMA District 36 Motorcycle Sports Committee, will continue to advocate for public access to public lands.
A copy of the decision can be viewed at:
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