Friday, December 13, 2013

Clearwater, Idaho counties file suit over travel plan

Clearwater and Idaho counties have filed suit against the United State Forest Service concerning the travel plan. The counties have filed jointly, because “most of our issues with the USFS are identical,” according to a press release issued by the counties.

Both counties are members of the Clearwater Basin Collaborative (CBC); however, the CBC itself has chosen not to become involved in the travel plan issue, “because we felt that consensus would be too elusive,” according to the press release.

In the suit filed against the Forest Service, the counties allege the Forest Service:

Did not consider the local land use plan of Clearwater County as required by federal coordination mandates;

Closed trails to single track (motorcycles) because of conflicts with little or no evidence that conflicts exist;

Failed to consider the economic impact to the citizens of the two counties;

Relied on data which was speculative insufficient or non-existent;

Constituted a management plan whereby de-facto wilderness areas are created without the required Congressional designation;

Failed to consider the impact by snowmobiles or even how much use there actually is.

The counties “attempted to resolve our claims administratively, by appealing the travel plan and those appeals were denied,” said the press release. “We believe the travel plan decision lacked sufficient data, and was therefore arbitrary and capricious. The travel plan does harm to our Counties and our residents and we believe the plan was not done in accordance with federal law. We felt this is a place to take a stand and we would be remiss if we had not.”

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