TELLICO LAWSUIT DISMISSED - FOREST SERVICE TO RELEASE NEW PLAN
October 30, 2008
Court papers filed today indicate that the lawsuit brought by motorized recreation advocates against the US Forest Service over the Upper Tellico Off-Highway Vehicle Area will be voluntarily dismissed. The case was filed by the BlueRibbon Coalition, United Four Wheel Drive Associations, and Southern Four Wheel Drive Association and challenged temporary closure orders issued by the Forest Service in December 2007. According to a stipulation entered by all parties to the case, it is the Forest Service's "stated intention to complete a public planning process and announce a new decision in the near future which will likely substantially impact or change the interim orders referenced in the complaint..." The Forest has provided proposed management alternatives and received comments through July 2008, on the new plan from the recreation organizations and many others interested in Tellico management.
"We are pleased that the Forest Service has made active management of Tellico a high priority, and that this planning process seems to have avoided some of the diversions that have delayed similar decisions in other areas," observed Jay Bird, immediate Past President of Southern Four Wheel Drive Association. "Under these circumstances, and mindful of the desire for both Forest Service personnel and recreational enthusiasts to focus on the new decision and future management, we agreed that dismissing this action was the right thing to do," Bird concluded.
The dismissal is without prejudice, meaning that these same organizations or other interested parties could file administrative appeals or lawsuits challenging the ultimate outcome of the new planning process. Further information about the plaintiff organizations, including information about the ongoing planning process at Tellico and developments in other matters, can be found as indicated below.
# # #
The BlueRibbon Coalition is a national recreation group that champions responsible recreation, 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. Since the formation of Southern Four Wheel Drive Association, the focus and mission is to promote responsible land use and to help keep public lands open 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