POCATELLO, ID (May 18, 2010) -- The next chapter in the Save Tellico saga began today as suit was filed to stop agency efforts to eliminate long-existing routes at the Upper Tellico OHV System. The suit was filed by Southern Four Wheel Drive Association, United Four Wheel Drive Associations, and BlueRibbon Coalition in U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina.
"This is a logical and necessary action in our effort to restore some form of meaningful OHV access to the System," said Roger Theurer, President of Southern Four Wheel Drive Association. "The entire premise behind this closure- that water quality is uniquely flawed in the Tellico River- is simply untrue. We hope through this suit for an opportunity to present the full story," Theurer concluded.
On April 19, 2010, the Forest Service posted a solicitation for bids, seeking contractors to perform various tasks to rehabilitate, obliterate, or otherwise decommission the bulk of existing roads on the OHV System. According to the complaint, routes historically used for vehicle travel may be fundamental to other forms of recreation, and possible impacts on non-motorized recreation activities have not been analyzed by the Forest.
"We prefer to work collaboratively with the Forest to provide appropriate vehicle-based recreation opportunities in the area," observed Greg Mumm, BlueRibbon Executive Director. "We remain committed to such prospects, but faced little option short of filing suit to preserve reasonable alternatives involving the System. These roads are literally on the verge of being removed from the landscape," Mumm concluded.
A copy of the complaint may be viewed at: http://www.sharetrails.org/uploads/Complaint_FILED_05-18-10.pdf
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The BlueRibbon Coalition is a national recreation group that champions responsible use of public and private lands, and encourages individual environmental stewardship. It represents over 10,000 individual members and 1,200 organization and business members, for a combined total of over 600,000 recreationists nationwide. 1-800-258-3742. www.sharetrails.org
United Four Wheel Drive Associations is an international organization comprised of four wheel drive enthusiasts, clubs, associations, and businesses dedicated to providing community services around the world, education in responsible land use and safe vehicle operation, and protection of our natural resources through conservation practices. 1-800-448-3932. www.ufwda.org
Southern Four Wheel Drive Association (SFWDA) was founded in 1987 to promote responsible land use and to keep public lands accessible for motorized recreation. For more information on the activities and accomplishments of Southern Four Wheel Drive Association, please visit www.sfwda.org or contact us at 1483 N. Mt. Juliet Road, PMB # 222, Mt. Juliet, TN 37122