Post by ljdude on Jul 31, 2012 10:50:32 GMT -8
For those that dont want to follow the link
"I will try to answer your questions and provide you some new information I have just learned.
First, the hearing is to debate a summary judgement request SFWDA has made to the Court to decide if the FS acted properly, met all the requirements of the notice of no significant impact under the NEPA law. Both the Government, Intervenors and SFWDA have filed briefs with the Federal Court. You can read those on the SFWDA website SFWDA.org.
Second, if the Judge decides in our favor what do we win? This is a good question and one not easily answered. the Judge can do almost anything he wants in this situation. The most likely outcome would be a second "hearing" , if you will, to decide the remedy. Obviously, we are asking for the OHV system to be reopened. However, due to the FS actions to obliterate the trails this option does not exist (some believe this was the motive so an immediate reopening order could not be issued). Hence, there must be some design, construction etc. to reopen the OHV system. Also, money must be made available to do this and since we are dealing with Federal property procurement procedures must be followed as well as environmental permits, rules etc. You get the picture why a second hearing may be required.
Third, the hearing will be held at 2 PM in Courtroom 50 Main Street, Bryson City, NC 28713 before Judge Martin Reidinger. You can view the calendar here www.ncwd.uscourts.gov/Calendar/Court.aspx
. This is your money at work (your tax dollars supporting the FS and your after tax goodwill contributions to SFWDA, BRC, UFWDA). It is a public process. You are welcome to attend and encouraged to attend. It is fine to wear identifying attire that you are a supporter of off road driving (i.e club logos). Remember, you must be respectful of the Court and the process. You will not be allowed to speak during the proceedings. Just your presence in the court room will be enough. It will give you an opportunity to see our system at work. It is very important that we do not do anything that will reflect badly on our sport. I think it will be a testament to our resolve and perseverance to have as many of us as can participate to be there in person.
Fourth, Please be reminded that it is very unlikely that a decision will be rendered on August 23rd. You will most likely be disappointed if you attend expecting to hear a decision. The decision will usually take 30 to 90 days. It may be in our best interest that the Judge take his time to consider everything in the case. Also, remember that any decision can be appealed by the opposing side.
Fifth, please re-post this information on other 4x4 boards and forums to help spread the word.
I look forward to seeing you on the 23rd in Bryson City, NC.
Thank you for your support.
SFWDA Director Land Use and Conservation.
P.S. We also recommend that we all spend a few extra minutes on our knees praying for our legal team, the judge and a favorable outcome for our sport."
Post by ljdude on Oct 15, 2012 20:28:00 GMT -8
SOUTHERN FOUR WHEEL DRIVE ASSOCIATION
UNITED FOUR WHEEL DRIVE ASSOCIATIONS
BLUERIBBON COALITION, INC.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Paul Turcke 208-331-1807
Greg Mumm 208-244-2112
Roger Theurer 931-841-0672
David Borum 865-310-3270
LEGAL EFFORTS TO SAVE TELLICO FALL SHORT
ASHEVILLE, NC (September 21, 2012) -- The United States effectively walked away from its substantial investment in a sizable portion of the Nantahala National Forest as a result of a recent ruling in the U.S. Western District of North Carolina rejecting four-wheel drive enthusiast efforts to re-open some portion of the Upper Tellico OHV System. The ruling, issued on September 19, came in a lawsuit filed by Southern Four Wheel Drive Association, United Four Wheel Drive Associations, and BlueRibbon Coalition. The suit contended the U.S. Forest Service overlooked required procedures and otherwise acted illegally in closing the 39 miles of trail in the System to motorized access.
The Court ruled against the enthusiast organizations, the Court ultimately concluded "he decision of the Forest Service was not arbitrary, capricious, or an abuse of discretion, and it was in accordance with the law. Having conducted 'a searching and careful, but ultimately narrow and highly deferential inquiry,' the Court concludes that the Forest Service followed the proper procedures and that there is a rational basis for its decision." The System represented the remnants of a network of former logging roads and skid trails purchased by the United States in 1980 and officially opened as a "high challenge" area in 1986.
"We are obviously disappointed by this result, but knew that we faced long odds in this case" said Roger Theurer, Past President of Southern Four Wheel Drive Association. "We realize the agency has broad discretion, but are incredibly frustrated that they exercised that discretion to walk away from rather than find an effective management solution for the System. It should concern more than just four-wheelers when the federal agency would rather run for cover in the courts than craft a solution on the ground," Theurer observed.
The System was located in a remote and difficult to access portion of the Forest which historically received little attention other than from the four-wheel drive community, who came to attach iconic significance to the Tellico System. As part of the closure decision, a Forest Service contractor has obliterated the former trails and left a maze of boulders and fallen trees in their place, making the former routes inaccessible to all but the most determined hiker.
"We released an update to our enthusiasts during this case called 'Tellico - Alamo' which today seems sadly prescient" stated Greg Mumm, BlueRibbon Executive Director. "Within and beyond our land managing agencies exist strong opponents to meaningful human access and recreation, and we would be wise to learn from Tellico and heed their next project," Mumm concluded.