The BlueRibbon Coalition (BRC) has filed papers seeking to enter a lawsuit threatening snowmobiling on lands throughout the National Forest System.
The suit claims that numerous Idaho forests have illegally relied on a "snowmobile exemption" in the 2005 Forest Service Travel Management Rule in allowing continuing snowmobile access. BRC is a nonprofit, grassroots organization headquartered in Pocatello, Idaho, which has participated for more than two decades on the administrative, legislative and legal fronts defending reasonable access to public lands.
"This is an important challenge which could affect Forest Service snowmobile programs and travel planning nationwide," said Joni Mogstad, president of the BRC board of directors.
"BlueRibbon was involved in all aspects of the process creating the 2005 rule, and has taken the lead defending recreation interests in numerous lawsuits interpreting the rule. It is essential that our members’ interests in snowmobile access and other forms of recreation be protected here, and our unique experience makes BlueRibbon singularly qualified to serve that role. We have little choice but to seek party status in this case," Mogstad concluded.
The case was filed in Idaho in late November by the Winter Wildlands Alliance, a preservationist group seeking to restrict snowmobile access for recreation. The case is presently assigned to U.S. Magistrate Ronald Bush, who last year struck down portions of the Salmon Challis National Forest travel plan. The Forest Service has not yet filed an appearance in the new lawsuit.