Forest plans and “valid existing rights”

This is about forest plan litigation – sort of.  The Michigan Wilderness Act included a clause included a provision protecting “valid existing rights.”  A series of forest plan amendments by the Ottawa National Forest imposed restrictions on motor boat use on a lake that was mostly within a wilderness area but partly touching private land. …

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“I understand firefighter safety, but you have to put people on the fire.”

  This from a resident near the Lolo Peak Fire – a fire that had recently killed one firefighter.  He added, “I’m tired of the smoke and I’m tired of the fire. I think there needs to be more accountability.” I’m appalled by the sense of entitlement to protection of private property that this statement …

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Forest Service wins A to Z

The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court denial of a preliminary injunction for the North Fork Mill Creek A to Z Project on the Colville National Forest, which has been discussed here. Of note, the question of contractor-NEPA was not addressed, although the court said that the Forest Service “reviewed and approved” the EA, and …

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Some red meat for the anti-litigation crowd

Here’s a story about an enjoined timber sale that might be burning up right now.  It will no doubt become Exhibit A for arguing why we should not allow the public to sue the government over its land management decisions. “Both the Park Creek and Arrastra Fires on the Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest were …

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Court: “There is no ‘oops’ exception to the duty of federal agencies to engage in reasoned decision making”

This case about wild horses on national forests shows how courts tend to look at agencies changing their minds (for whatever reason).  “The judges said decades of history and practice by the Forest Service can’t be swept away by calling the original decision a mistake.”  There is a process for remaking decisions – even “mistakes.” …

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Utah counties make plans for federal lands

Sagebrush Rebellion light? The state required counties to make these plans, which by itself should be a good thing (especially where there has historically been anti-planning sentiment). “This helps us to work with our federal partners to ensure Summit County’s interests are part of the conversation on how federal lands are managed,” said Sean Lewis, …

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Another kind of access challenge

Sometimes the threat to national forest access results from undeveloped private land adjacent to a national forest becoming a subdivision, and here’s an example of that. In a recent development (described on a subscription-only site) an Aug. 28 hearing has been set in a lawsuit filed by developer Easter Mountain Ranch LLC (EMR) against Cochise …

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Personnel, politics and public access to public lands

  Yes, it looks like Forest Service employees should be concerned about how Trump might affect their careers.  Here’s an example about offending private landowners who block access to national forests.  (And, without any facts beyond earlier stories, I’ll suggest that you not think of these as long-term rural residents, but more likely some recent, …

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Enjoined timber sale “renegotiated”

The Johnson Bar Salvage Sale on the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest has been approved by the Forest Service and the litigants.  (Johnson Bar has been previously discussed here in several posts.) Following the injunction, Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest Supervisor Cheryl Probert pulled the project and committed to a rewrite that was completed earlier this year. …

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This is how we “love wilderness to death?”

I couldn’t ignore these two stories showing up the same day (but I didn’t look for a photo). Deschutes and Willamette National Forests (OR) proposes limiting wilderness users:  “Wilderness rangers reported coming across unburied human feces more than 1,000 times.” White River National Forest (CO) proposes limiting overnight camping in wilderness:  “During the 2016 summer season, …

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