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A Trail Closed Is Never Reopened? BRC Legal Opens Trail 38

February 02, 2015 6:17 PM

BOISE, ID (February 2, 2015) -- When the snow clears in the coming spring, Wyoming riders will again enjoy the opportunity to traverse Trail 38 on the Bighorn National Forest, thanks to the Inyan Kara Riders-BlueRibbon Coalition (BRC) legal effort. Trail 38, a 4.5 mile section of rare Wyoming single-track, was closed in the Spring of 2012 through a Tongue District Ranger letter purporting to change the Trail's designation to non-motorized. Following unsuccessful outreach and correspondence to the Forest Service, local riders contacted the BRC to evaluate their options. On August 6, 2014, the BRC Legal Team filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District of Wyoming, alleging that the non-motorized designation of Trail 38 violated federal laws and regulations. Rather than answer the complaint, the Forest Service withdrew its designation, and Trail 38 reverted to its earlier motorized status.

"We are pleasantly surprised by the Forest Service's quick and decisive choice to avoid protracted litigation," said J.R. Riggins, a named plaintiff in the suit and leader of the Wyoming rider's effort. "Cynics sometimes think that litigation is an expensive exercise in symbolic futility, but our ability to resume summer trips on Trail 38 serves as a tangible reminder that a well-designed courtroom effort can make a difference on the ground," Riggins observed.

Since 1997, the BRC Legal Program has appeared across the nation to fight recreation closures and defend pro-trail agency decisions. Many cases involve defense against attacks from anti-access groups. Some, like Trail 38, are efforts to go "on offense" and establish or restore access opportunities which has occurred at least 14 times. The BRC Legal Program total investment in access is at 1.7 million dollars spent and counting. 

The plaintiffs in the Trail 38 effort were represented by Paul Turcke of Boise, Idaho, who has been lead counsel for BRC since the Legal Program's inception, and local counsel Harriet Hageman and Stacia Berry of Hageman Law in Cheyenne. These lawyers previously joined forces to represent recreation interests in support of the State of Wyoming's challenge to the 2001 Clinton-Gore Roadless Rule. The parties to the suit have reached an initial agreement on a settlement, which is undergoing final approval by federal government officials.

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The BlueRibbon Coalition (BRC) is a national non-profit organization that champions responsible recreation and encourages a strong conservation ethic and individual stewardship, while providing leadership in efforts to keep outdoor recreation alive and well -- all sports; all trails.  With members in all 50 states, BRC is focused on building enthusiast involvement with organizational efforts through membership, outreach, education and collaboration among recreationists. 1-800-BLUERIB -  www.BlueRibbonCoalition.Org.

May 31, 2016 3:24 PM
Some of the many historic OHV routes in the Pine Nut Mountains

BOISE, ID (May 31, 2016) -- Sharetrails.org/BlueRibbon Coalition (BRC), a national trail-based recreation group, today slammed recent decisions that would severely restrict off-highway vehicle (OHV) events and trail improvements in many areas in eastern California and Nevada.  The changes, in the name of sage grouse management, were demanded by a handful of preservationist special interest groups.

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November 23, 2015 3:16 PM
Associated Image

MISSOULA, MT (November 23, 2015) --Various organizations, led by the Ten Lakes Snowmobile Club, have filed a lawsuit challenging U.S. Forest Service planning efforts on the Kootenai and Idaho Panhandle National Forests.  The complaint, filed on November 12, 2015, in federal court for the U.S.

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November 23, 2015 10:38 AM

POCATELLO, ID (November 23, 2015) – Early last week, the BlueRibbon Coalition/Sharetrails.org joined with other recreation groups in a letter sent to the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in support of a balanced approach to managing public lands as part of the Moab Master Leasing Plan.

The letter addressed to BLM serves as formal comments from OHV stakeholders.  It also represents an effort between motorized and non-motorized recreation groups working together for the protection of outdoor recreation resources on public lands.

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