- Jan 15, 2002
- Toquerville UT
FYI...UFWDA ASSISTS CLUB TO OBTAIN FOREST SERVICE PERMIT
San Diego, CA (Nov 7, 2005): A law suit, Earth Island Institute v.
Ruthenbeck, has brought the U.S. Forest Service to a screeching halt.
The court ordered the agency to subject all forest projects to
notice, comment, and appeal, even those projects formerly exempt from
the requirements because they were Categorical Exclusions (CE).
United Four Wheel Drive Associations (UFWDA) was contacted by a club
whose special use permit was denied until the application went
through the court ordered notice, comment, and appeal. The big
problem was, the event was to be held Saturday, October 22, 2005.
There was no time to wait through the notice, comment, and appeal
period that would have taken months.
After discussing the matter with the District Ranger, Forest
Supervisor, Assistant Director of Appeals and Litigation in the
Washington Office, and the Office of General Counsel, USDA, UFWDA
Legal Counsel, Carla Boucher, wrote to the agency formally requesting
a determination that a permit was not subject to the court order, or
in the alternative not necessary. UFWDA is pleased to report that
based on her letter, a great track record from the four wheel drive
club in the past, and a second court order in response to the
agency's motion to stay the initial order, the permit was issued in
the nick of time for the event to proceed on schedule as planned.
There are some important lessons to take away from this situation.
First, it pays to establish a good working relationship with the
Forest Service at the local level. This club has been holding this
event for years and they have an exemplary track record with the
agency. Second, it's never too early to apply for a special use
permit for your club event, when a permit is required. Although part
of the notice, comment, and appeal requirements have been stayed by
the court, your route to a successful club event will be much easier
if you apply for your permit at least four months in advance of the
United Four Wheel Drive Associations is an international organization
of four wheel drive enthusiasts dedicated to preserving public lands
heritage and enjoyment of the outdoors. For more information,
contact UFWDA at www.ufwda.org, 1-800-44-UFWDA, 7135 S. PR Royal
Springs Dr., Shelbyville, IN 46176.