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BlueRibbon Seeks Role In Snowmobile Lawsuit

Published online: Jan 23, 2012 News
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Boise, ID - The BlueRibbon Coalition last week filed papers seeking to enter a lawsuit threatening snowmobiling on lands throughout the National Forest system. The suit claims that numerous Idaho forests have illegally relied on a "snowmobile exemption" in the 2005 Forest Service Travel Management Rule in allowing continuing snowmobile access.

BlueRibbon Coalition is a nonprofit, grassroots organization headquartered in Pocatello, ID, which has participated for more than two decades on the administrative, legislative and legal fronts defending reasonable access to public lands.

"This is an important challenge which could affect Forest Service snowmobile programs and travel planning nationwide" Joni Mogstad, president of the BlueRibbon Board of Directors, said. "BlueRibbon was involved in all aspects of the process creating the 2005 Rule and has taken the lead defending recreation interests in numerous lawsuits interpreting the Rule. It is essential that our members' interests in snowmobile access and other forms of recreation be protected here and our unique experience makes BlueRibbon singularly qualified to serve that role. We have little choice but to seek party status in this case."

The case was filed in the U.S. District of Idaho in late November, 2011 by the Winter Wildlands Alliance, a preservationist group seeking dramatic restriction, if not elimination, of snowmobile access to the benefit of exclusive "human powered" recreation. The case is presently assigned to U.S. Magistrate Ronald Bush, who last year struck down portions of the Salmon Challis National Forest travel plan. The Forest Service has not yet filed an appearance in the new lawsuit.