Court rules for landowner in trail dispute

Associated Press 3/10/2014
Excerpt:     “
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court on Monday sided with a Wyoming property owner in a dispute over a bicycle trail that follows the route of an abandoned railroad, a decision that could force the government to pay hundreds of millions of dollars to compensate landowners.

The justices ruled 8-1 that property owner Marvin Brandt remains the owner of a 200-foot-wide trail that crosses his 83-acre parcel in southern Wyoming’s Medicine Bow National Forest. The trail once was the path of a railroad and is among thousands of miles of abandoned railroads that have been converted to recreational trails.  …”
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Poll says Arizonans love U.S. public land

Arizona Republic 2/15/2014
Western voters love their public lands and do not want to sell them or underfund their management, an annual bipartisan poll of regional attitudes found.

In Arizona, according to Colorado College’s “State of the Rockies” poll taken last month, 74 percent of respondents disapprove of selling national forest or Bureau of Land Management acreage, and 63 percent would be more likely to vote for a candidate who votes to increase funds to agencies such as the U.S. Forest Service.   ……”
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A western wrinkle on eminent domain

Washington Post 2/17/2014
Excerpt:       “
BRECKENRIDGE, Colo. — The view from the deck of the small, century-old cabin was a dream come true for Andy and Ceil Barrie — a sweeping panorama of 13,000 and 14,000-foot peaks towering above the forest of centuries-old bristlecone pines.

It convinced the couple to buy a 3-bedroom home in a subdivision below, where they could live year-round, and the 10-acre parcel surrounding the cabin in the midst the White River National Forest. Now the county government, alarmed that the couple drives their ATV up a 1.2-mile old mining road to the cabin, wants to take the Barrie’s land — and it’s doing so by claiming eminent domain.   …”
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Deal keeps oil rigs out of big chunks of Fishlake National Forest

Salt Lake Tribune 2/17/2014
Excerpt:     “
Oil and gas development on Utah’s Fishlake National Forest is still possible under a deal the U.S. Forest Service has reached with environmentalists, but it would face strict guidelines for protecting air quality and wildlife habitat.

WildEarth Guardians and the Grand Canyon Trust last week hailed the agreement as a victory because it would keep drill rigs, roads and well pads out of at least 1.3 million of the 1.7 million acres covered in a leasing plan the Forest Service approved last year.    …..”
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Biodiversity: Review panel says feds didn’t use best available science for wolf delisting proposal

Summit County Voice 2/8/2014
Excerpt:       “
FRISCO — A federal plan to take gray wolves off the endangered species list hit a snag last week, as an independent review panel raised questions about the scientific rationale for the plan.

Specifically, the reviewers questioned whether U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologists used the best available science when they developed the delisting proposal. Part of the criticism hinged on the fact that the agency relied heavily on one single report that may have omitted some key information, and included fundamental flaws about the taxonomy and genetic differentiation of wolves.    …..”
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2014 Farm Bill expands aid for forest health

Durango Herald 2/8/2014
Excerpt:      “
The Agricultural Act of 2014, or Farm Bill, that President Barack Obama signed into law Friday at Michigan State University is a five-year plan that provides more than $100 billion a year in federal funding for U.S. Department of Agriculture projects, including those done by the Forest Service.

Two of the measures introduced by Bennet, D-Colo., permanently reauthorize and expand programs previously in place in Colorado: state and private partnerships with the Forest Service.   …”
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Government to spend $30M on forest restoration

Associated Press 2/9/2014
Excerpt:       “
HELENA, Mont. — The U.S. Department of Agriculture will spend $30 million this year on forest restoration projects in 12 states to reduce the threat of wildfires, protect water quality and improve wildlife habitat for at-risk species.

Those first 13 projects will be the start of a multi-year initiative to improve the health of forests and watersheds on public and private lands, Agriculture Undersecretary Robert Bonnie said Thursday.  …”
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Man sentenced for harvesting ginseng in Nantahala National Forest

Charlotte Observer 2/6/2014
Excerpt:      “Harvesting a plant long used as a remedy for various ailments can now land you behind bars.  A man was sentenced to 10 days in jail recently for illegally digging up American ginseng from the Nantahala National Forest in Western North Carolina.

Charles Nash admitted in federal court to illegally possessing 24 American ginseng roots he dug from the Mosses Creek and Wayehutta Off-Road Vehicle areas in Jackson County, federal prosecutors said Thursday. Nash pleaded guilty to the poaching charge.  …”
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House backs bill to speed logging of burned trees

Great Falls Tribune 2/6/2014
Excerpt:      “
WASHINGTON — The House approved a wide-ranging public lands bill Thursday that would speed logging of trees burned in last year’s massive Rim Fire in California.The measure also allows vehicular access to North Carolina’s Cape Hatteras National Seashore, extends livestock grazing permits on federal land in the West and lifts longstanding restrictions on canoes, rafts and other “hand-propelled” watercraft in Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks.  ….”
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Idaho godsend: Farm bill boosts forest restoration

Idaho Statesman 2/5/2014
Excerpt:        “
Provisions that will allow the Forest Service to expand logging, thinning and other work supported by collaborative groups in Idaho were included in Tuesday’s sweeping measure.

The bill’s forestry segments brought praise from landowners, loggers and The Wilderness Society, a group seeking additional forest preservation. The projects offer the promise of jobs and healthier forests that are less susceptible to catastrophic fires…..”
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