County And Recreation Groups Challenge Illegal Road Decommissioning On Northern Calif

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May 8, 2008

Don Amador, BRC Western Representative
- Phone: (925) 625-6287
- Fax: (925) 625-5309
- Email:
- Webpage:

Date: 05/18/2010

SAN FRANCISCO (May 18)--County government and access organizations have filed their lawsuit against the Six Rivers National Forest in northwest California. The suit challenges road-decommissioning activities and alleges that a Motor Vehicle Use Map (MVUM), which governs public access, was released without required public review. The suit was filed on May 13, 2010, in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

The complaint specifically mentions "rehabilitation" of Forest Road 17N92 and alleges that in late 2009 a Forest Service contractor "performed ground-disturbing activities" without the legally required environmental analysis and opportunity for public review and comment. Unfortunately, the contractor's activities coincided with seasonal precipitation events to cause erosion and sediment-laden runoff to pour into the Smith River watershed.

Don Amador, the Western Representative for the BlueRibbon Coalition and a native of the region, states, "Where are these preservationist groups that insist on scrupulous compliance with procedures? Sadly, they are nowhere to be found in this case. Apparently those procedures don't apply when the agency is eliminating historic roads."

The suit further attacks publication of the MVUM. Required by the Forest Service 2005 Travel Management Rule, MVUMs in most Forests follow a lengthy public process and generation of a formal environmental analysis that is circulated for public review, comment and subject to administrative appeal. The Six Rivers did not conduct such review, but has promised, after release of the MVUM, to conduct collaborative discussions with interested groups to consider changes to the MVUM.

"We are always interested in collaborative dialogue, but the Forest has put the legal cart before the horse. Many historically-used roads and trails were open one day and closed the next, without the notice or planning that occurs in other Forests," Amador claimed.

The parties bringing the suit are Del Norte County, Lake Earl Grange, Del Norte Rod and Gun Club, North Coast Cliffhangers Four Wheel Drive Club, California Association of Four Wheel Drive Clubs, and the BlueRibbon Coalition.

A copy of the complaint can be viewed at:

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