NFS Litigation Weekly October 30, 2020

The Forest Service summaries are here:  Litigation Weekly October 30 2020 Email


Friends of the Florida Trail, Inc. v. Thomas (D. N. Florida).  The plaintiff claims the Forest Service violated NEPA and the National Scenic Trails Act when it approved the 90-mile Big Bend Reroute of the Florida National Scenic Trail using a categorical exclusion.


After the Southern Sierra Nevada DPS of the Pacific fisher was listed as endangered on May 15, 2020, the Forest Service and Fish and Wildlife completed a programmatic consultation on 40 proposed projects involving the logging and removal of trees and other vegetation across the Sierra, Sequoia, and Stanislaus National Forests.  On September 3, Unite the Parks, Sequoia ForestKeeper, and the John Muir Project notified the agencies of their intent to sue for failure to adequately analyze the effects on the fisher.



(Update.)  After the government filed a notice of appeal of the Alaska district court’s reversal of the Prince of Wales Landscape Level Analysis Project for the Tongass National Forest (discussed here), they changed their minds.  They are now proceeding with a more traditional timber sale project involving 3,000 acres of old-growth forest.

(Update – EPIC v. Carlson.)  The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has denied requests by the Forest Service and intervenors to rehear this case involving an unreasonable interpretation of the road repair and maintenance categorical exclusion for the Ranch Fire Roadside Hazard Tree Project on the Mendocino National Forest (discussed here).  (When I worked with this forest supervisor earlier in her career she didn’t like my advice either.)

3 thoughts on “NFS Litigation Weekly October 30, 2020”

  1. Just want to say Thanks for posting the new litigation on the Florida NST relocation. When I was deputy on the NFs of Florida from 2009-2013, my boss worked hard to wrest control of the trail management from its designated partner association. The FS had ceded far too much control to them, and we discovered that they were using Congressional appropriations for other than the trail, and unilaterally making decisions. She successfully engaged a network of adjacent landowners to participate in trail management, which wasn’t happily received by the assn who had control for so long. Long story, but I’m sad to see this particular event come to litigation. Sadly, the FNST never reached the use or prominence of other long distance trails despite millions in investments, although segments are well loved and used. Will be interested to see what happens here.

  2. There may come a day when commercial logging stops on those three southern Sierra Nevada National Forests. Those Forests could go the way of the LA Basin Forests. As forest mortality increases, the economic viability of the few mills left comes into question. There is just one mill for the Sequoia and Sierra National Forests, and I could see them bailing out, any time now.

    The Stanislaus NF has a small log mill and a large log mill. The large one serves SPI’s extensive timber base. The small log mill serves USFS thinning projects. They do sell a lot of products made with small diameter incense cedar, which is like a ‘poor man’s redwood’. Privacy fences are popular. I’m not sure what they make with the small diameter white fir. Transportation costs would be prohibitive to send Sierra or Sequoia logs to Sonora.

    The future looks pretty bleak for those three Forests. I doubt the fishers are liking these trends, either.


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