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Big Win in CA -- Appeal Won by BlueRibbon Coalition


  Contact: Don Amador
       Phone: 925.625.6287
       Email: brdon@sharetrails.org
       Date: January 14, 2008
Recreation Group Wins Forest Service Appeal to Protect Access to Motorized Trails In Roadless Areas

EUREKA, CA - On January 10th, an Appeal Deciding Officer for the USDA Forest Service reversed a decision that would have closed over 14 miles of historic off-highway vehicle (OHV) motorized trails in a Northern California Forest. This decision was in response to appeals filed by the BlueRibbon Coalition (BRC) and Del Norte County to the Smith River National Recreation Area (NRA) Road Management and Route Designation Project on the Six Rivers National Forest.

Click to see larger imageClick to see larger image
BlueRibbon Coalition members, Karl Beyerle (L) and Steve Bingham (R), cruise the roads/trails of the Six Rivers National Forest, Del Norte County Roadless Area (where yes, roads can and do exist).
Photos by Don Amador

In early November, the County and BRC filed appeals based on concerns that the Six Rivers National Forest's Decision Notice and FONSI approving Alternative 2, as modified, would close many important motorized trails to local users.  BRC believed the Ranger District had misinterpreted the 2001 Clinton Roadless Rule as prohibiting the designation of motorized trails in roadless areas.

Currently, the 19 National Forests in California are in various stages of route designation as required by the nationwide Forest Service Travel Management Rule.   The NRA's process was one of the first projects completed where a final decision notice had been issued. 

Don Amador, Western Representative for the BlueRibbon Coalition
, states, "I think our main goal in filing this appeal was to champion the concept that important OHV travelways in roadless areas should not be arbitrarily and summarily excluded from the route designation process.  Some of the most highly valued and scenic motorized trails in our National Forests exist in roadless areas."

"This decision clearly supports BRC's continuing legal viewpoint that the 2001 Clinton Roadless Rule allows for motorized trails to be designated in roadless areas.  As the route designation process continues on other Forests it will be important for local user groups to highlight important OHV routes that already exist in roadless areas so they may be included as meaningful options in the travel management plan," Amador concludes.

The appeal decision is available at:  www.sharetrails.org/files/SmithRiverNraBrcAppealDecisionJan14.pdf 

# # #
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

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