Excerpt: “HAMILTON – A former Ravalli County attorney is challenging the U.S. Forest Service’s user fee requirement at the popular Lake Como Recreation Area.
George Corn said the agency isn’t following the law when it requires people not using developed amenities in the recreation area to pay a fee to park their car to go hiking, fishing or berry picking. Forest Service officials disagree with Corn’s interpretation and say they have made adjustments to meet changes handed down by a recent court ruling….”
Read entire article at http://missoulian.com/news/state-and-regional/former-ravalli-county-attorney-challenging-lake-como-user-fees/article_49b6a098-c0cc-11e2-bae3-0019bb2963f4.html
Summit County Voice 5/9/2013
Excerpt: “SUMMIT COUNTY — Conservation groups say U.S. Forest Service officials made an arbitrary and capricious decision when they replaced a widespread cave and mine closure with a weaker rule that could lead to the introduction of a deadly bat disease in the Rocky Mountain region.
In its appeal, the Center for Biological Diversity said that required decontamination procedures are questionable at best under field conditions, and that mandatory closures of caves when white-nose syndrome is detected within 250 miles doesn’t go far enough to protect bats. …”
Read entire article at http://summitcountyvoice.com/2013/05/09/new-forest-service-cave-policy-faces-a-challenge/
Seattle Post Intelligencer 5/8/2013
Excerpt: “A judge has told the U.S. Forest Service to pay $70,804.19 in legal fees to two lawyers who helped win a lawsuit that will force removal of the historic, rebuilt Green Mountain Lookout from the summit of a popular hiking trail in Washington’s Glacier Peak Wilderness Area.
Senior U.S. District Judge John Coughenour approved compensating attorney Peter M.K. Frost of Oregon at rates of $410 an hour for work done in 2010, rising to $425 an hour for work done on the suit in 2011 and 2012. Junior counsel John R. Mellgren, also of Oregon, was ordered to be compensated at a lower rate of $184.32 an hour. Both Frost and Mellgren work for the Western Environmental Law Center, which frequently sues the Forest Service. …”
Read entire article at http://blog.seattlepi.com/seattlepolitics/2013/05/08/u-s-judge-awards-70804-to-anti-lookout-lawyers/
Knoxville News Sentinel 5/3/2013
Excerpt: “TALLASSEE — The overlook on U.S. Highway 129 was filled to capacity with motorcyclists from Texas, Florida and Louisiana. They had pulled off the Tail of the Dragon, an 11-mile stretch of highway in Blount County famous for its scenery and curves, and now they were taking photos. Below the overlook was Calderwood Lake, a deep-blue finger lake along the Little Tennessee River.
With the Cherokee National Forest on one side of the road and Great Smoky Mountains National Park on the other, the mountain scenery stretched out in every direction as far as the eye could see. The forested lands along Calderwood Lake seen from that overlook are part of 4,000 acres that The Nature Conservancy soon will purchase from Brookfield Renewable Energy Partners, a Canada-based company that in 2012 purchased Alcoa Inc.’s four hydroelectric dams — Chilhowee, Calderwood, Cheoah and Santeetlah — along the Little Tennessee River. …”
Read entire article at http://www.knoxnews.com/news/2013/may/03/4000-acre-land-deal-links-the-smokies-and-forest/
Summit County Voice 5/2/2013
Excerpt: “FRISCO — The White River National Forest is well-known for its many ski areas and stunning high-elevation wilderness areas, but the forest is also a Rocky Mountain stronghold for bats. And with a deadly disease poised to move into the region, resource managers are taking steps to try and protect the flying mammals with a new cave access policy.
Based on a regional study completed a few weeks ago, WRNF supervisor Scott Fitzwilliams has decided to keep several caves with biologically significant populations closed all year, and other caves may be closed seasonally. Year-round closures are to be enacted on ranger districts if white-nose syndrome is documented within 250 miles. The regional policy and supporting documents are online at this Forest Service website. …”
Read entire story at http://summitcountyvoice.com/2013/05/02/colorado-forest-service-finalizes-plan-to-protect-bats/
San Gabriel Valley Tribune 4/30/2013
Excerpt: “A federal lawsuit brought by four hikers could bring an end to a 16-year-old controversial fee program that rakes in millions of dollars for new picnic tables and routine maintenance within the four heavily used forests rimming Southern California.
At the order of U.S. District Court Judge Terry J. Hatter, lawyers for the plaintiffs and the Department of Justice are locked in settlement talks that could determine the outcome of the U.S. Forest Service’s Adventure Pass, a fee that has elicited objections as “double taxation” from opponents but has been defended by forest managers as essential in this time of budgetary cutbacks. ….”
Read entire article at http://www.sgvtribune.com/news/ci_23142443/four-hikers-challenge-forest-adventure-pass
The hikers want the court to apply a U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling from February 2012 out of Arizona to the Angeles, Los Padres, San Bernardino and Cleveland national forests.
Aspen Times 4/16/2013
Excerpt: “ASPEN — The White River National Forest surrounding Aspen faces some budget uncertainties that could affect such seasonal duties as maintaining trails and patrolling the wilderness, according to Supervisor Scott Fitzwilliams.
As funding stands now, the White River will lose “somewhere in the neighborhood of $3 million” in funding compared with last year, Fitzwilliams said. The funding for 19 national forests is decided by the Rocky Mountain Region headquarters in Lakewood. …”
Read entire article at http://www.aspentimes.com/article/20130415/NEWS/130419902/1001&parentprofile=1001
Summit County Voice 4/14/2013
Excerpt: “SUMMIT COUNTY — After losing a court showdown, the U.S. Forest Service will restart a process to try and clarify the future of water rights associated with permitted uses on national forest lands, especially with regard to ski areas in the West
In December, a federal court ruled that the Forest Service failed to meet legal requirements when it updated the rule administratively. Now, the agency will hold a series of public meetings, starting April 16 in Denver, to take input from the public and key stakeholders. Additional meetings are set for Salt Lake City on April 17, and Lake Tahoe, Calif., on April 18. …”
Read entire article at http://summitcountyvoice.com/2013/04/14/forest-service-holds-public-meetings-on-ski-area-water-rights/
Cortez Journal 4/11/2013
Excerpt: “DENVER – Lobbying from the very highest level of the U.S. Forest Service has scuttled a state representative’s bid to keep the federal government from claiming water rights at ski areas.
Pasadena Star News 4/11/2013
Excerpt: “BOISE, Idaho – An Idaho family has sued the U.S. Forest Service demanding more than $1 million after a large dead tree at a remote campsite fell and injured their young son.
Richard and Melinda Armstrong, of Caldwell, said their family was camping in the Boise National Forest in September 2010 when a gust of wind blew over the dead tree. It fell on their son, resulting in a large laceration, a compound fracture and a puncture wound in his back that impaired his breathing. …”
Read entire story at http://www.pasadenastarnews.com/breakingnews/ci_23000054/family-sues-u-s-forest-service-1-million