Pocatello, ID - A coalition of recreation advocacy groups filed an Amicus Curiae brief in the 10th District Court of Appeals related to the 2001 Roadless Rule this week, marking over a decade of involvement in the controversial issue.
The recreation groups include the BlueRibbon Coalition (BRC), California Association of 4 Wheel Drive Clubs (CA4WDC), United Four Wheel Drive Associations (UFWDA) and the American Council of Snowmobile Associations (ACSA).
Environmental activists are appealing a 2008 decision by U.S. District Court of Wyoming Judge Clarence Brimmer declaring the Clinton era Roadless Rule illegal. That ruling came in a case brought by the State of Wyoming in 2007, which paralleled an earlier complaint filed by Wyoming in 2001. Brimmer's 2008 decision minced few words, concluding the 2001 Rule "was driven by political haste and evidenced pro forma compliance with" environmental laws, using descriptors such as "flagrant" and "cavalier" in characterizing the "unequivocal" violations.
Brian Hawthorne, BRC's Public Lands Policy Director, said, "With millions of acres of National Forests susceptible to disease and wildfire, it should be evident that a top-down, one-size-fits-all management program should never be the answer. Each roadless area is unique and local conditions should be taken into consideration when actively managing these lands."
"This marks a decade of involvement in the Roadless issue," Greg Mumm, executive director of BRC, said. "Force-feeding a 'hands-off' policy to manage Roadless Areas, like congressionally designated Wilderness, has been a goal of the preservationist groups for some time. BRC is proud to have protected recreational access to these lands and we are committed to continue this important effort."
Noting the U.S. Forest Service will be revising the regulations for preparing Forest Plans, Paul Turcke, the attorney for the recreational groups, observed in their brief that "our nation's treasured forest lands must be actively and effectively managed. Such management necessitates detailed, site-by-site analysis; not politically convenient templates. That improper procedural means advance an agenda of less rather than more active human presence is of little legal import. This Court should seize the opportunity to place the 2001 Roadless Rule alongside the 2005 State Petitions Rule and similar misplaced efforts to manage our National Forests via election cycle emanations from the DC beltway, and to begin a return to professionally-driven and project-focused management that our forests and citizens deserve."
The Recreation group's filing can be found online. Learn more about the history of the Roadless Rule and latest updates on www.sharetrails.org.