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
Forest travel plan. The Forest Service has
not yet filed an appearance in the new lawsuit.