Sometimes it takes a lawsuit

A couple of examples of how lawsuit settlements can play out on national forests.

“How Cross-Country Skiers Got Tahoe National Forest To Rethink Snowmobile Use; Future Plan Could Cut Access In Half”

“Both cases were settled around 2012, and it took years for the Forest Service to come up with a plan. Now, it is rethinking how snowmobilers explore public land. Its final plan will determine what percentage of the forest and what trails are used for snowmobiles.”

This is a typical settlement, where the Forest Service agrees to undertake a process, with more analysis, without committing to an outcome, but sometimes that outcome can make the plaintiffs happy (and maybe prevent another lawsuit).  The settlement occurred here after the Forest Service lost the lawsuit.

“US 70 bypass around Havelock gets green light after lawsuit settled”

“In an agreement announced Monday, NCDOT will give a conservation easement to protect land it will own along the 10.3-mile bypass, as well as provide $5.3 million to the N.C. Coastal Land Trust to create a fund to protect land in and around the Croatan National Forest. NCDOT also will establish a $2 million revolving loan fund that could be used to protect property elsewhere in Carteret, Craven and Jones counties.  As part of the settlement, the two federal agencies have committed to maintaining woodpecker habitat between the bypass and the town of Havelock with the use of controlled burning, which longleaf pines need to reproduce and thrive. The U.S. Forest Service has agreed to carry out the burning.”

The Forest Service was not a party to this one, but was part of the settlement, which involved adding mitigation measures.  This settlement occurred prior to a court decision.

(Here and here are a couple of less effective alternatives to litigation.)


1 thought on “Sometimes it takes a lawsuit”

  1. The title of the linked article on the Tahoe NF is a bit misleading – the proposed action would decrease the area open to OSV use by 36% and would increase the number of miles of trails available for grooming, as compared to the current condition (no action). Also worth noting is that one of the people interviewed operates tours on the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit, not the Tahoe NF. Here is a link to the DEIS:


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