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RECREATIONAL GROUPS DECRY TELLICO CLOSURE October 15, 2009 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT:*Greg Mumm, BlueRibbon Coalition ************* 208-244-2112 ************* Jay Bird, Southern Four Wheel Drive Association ************* 757-546-7969 Conservation groups dedicated to active and sustainable management of the Upper Tellico OHV Area expressed deep disappointment with the U.S. Forest Service decision to permanently close the Tellico trails.* The decision, which follows an earlier "temporary" closure, was announced in documents published by the USFS yesterday morning. Gary Parsons, President of the Southern Four Wheel Drive Association, reacted by saying, "The Forest Service is simply wrong in this decision.* This public agency has ignored an independent study by Caliber Engineering and the recommendations of its own Trails Unlimited Team, which demonstrated effective management is attainable and offered specific suggestions to achieve that goal." The agency announcement by Forest Supervisor Marisue Hilliard again parroted the water quality issues long favored by preservationist special interests as the excuse for closure.* Jay Bird, Chairman of the Rescue Tellico Committee, noted, "The Tellico River is in excellent shape and complies with all legal requirements.* Only through blatant modification of proper methodology, such as measuring turbidity levels during peak runoff, can the Forest Service claim there is legal basis to take any action, let alone closure." "Sadly, we are not surprised.* It now appears the Forest Service knew it would close the Area years ago, and undertook the intervening 'public process' to justify a decision already made," said Greg Mumm, Executive Director of the BlueRibbon Coalition. "We are sorely disappointed that the Forest Service has determined it cannot effectively manage the Upper Tellico OHV Area that users have supported with millions of dollars in fees and thousands of hours of volunteer labor.* With our recreational partners, we will evaluate all options that may change that determination." # # # 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. BlueRibbon Coalition: Preserving your recreational access to public lands. 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. United Four Wheel Drive Associations Official Site - United Online - An International Organization 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 Southern 4WD Association or contact us at 1483 N. Mt. Juliet Road, PMB # 222, Mt. Juliet, TN 37122
MEDIA RELEASE RECREATIONAL GROUPS FILE TO ENTER UTAH DESERT LAWSUIT Contact: Paul Turcke 208-331-1800 Date: April 8, 2009 WASHINGTON, DC - A coalition of recreational access groups moved today to join a lawsuit challenging Bureau of Land Management (BLM) plans covering nearly seven million acres in Utah. The motion was filed by the Trails Preservation Alliance (TPA), Colorado Off-Highway Vehicle Coalition (COHVCO), and BlueRibbon Coalition (BRC), all trails-based, grassroots recreation advocacy groups. The lawsuit was filed by eleven preservationist groups, led by the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance. Through the suit, the plaintiffs hope to have the BLM plans declared illegal and set aside, and ask the Court to issue an injunction preventing activities authorized by the plans until BLM issues new decisions complying with a host of federal statutes. The lands at issue are located in the BLM Moab, Price, and Vernal Field Offices, which include iconic destinations for all types of backcountry recreationists. "Our groups have carefully participated in these planning processes," said Don Riggle, TPA founder. "We are far from satisfied with the final BLM decisions, but can obviously see that SUWA is attempting, through this suit, to close off access to even those trails that survived the designation process," Riggle concluded. "Our courtroom relationship with SUWA stretches back nearly a decade, and this suit seemingly breathes continuing life into that relationship," added Brian Hawthorne, BRC Public Lands Policy Director. The lawsuit was originally filed on December 17, 2008, and targeted 77 lease sales for oil and gas drilling on BLM-managed lands. Those sales were halted by a temporary restraining order issued by the Court on January 17, 2009. The latest complaint, filed March 19, 2009, drops the claims against the oil and gas leasing projects, which BLM has apparently withdrawn. However, the current complaint adds claims addressing other uses, including off-highway vehicle use. The Recreational Groups and SUWA have waged prior battles over BLM's management of Utah lands, most notably including a 2000 lawsuit by which SUWA sought to compel agency action meeting SUWA's vision of that required by BLM. In that suit, the Recreational Groups filed a motion to dismiss the case on jurisdictional grounds, which was granted by the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah, reversed by the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, but ultimately affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2004. During and subsequent to that case, BLM has been preparing the land use plans and travel management designations now under challenge in the present suit. # # # The Trails Preservation Alliance is a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting the sport of motorized trail riding, educating all user groups and the public on the value of sharing public lands for multiuse recreation, while protecting public lands for future generations. Colorado Trails Preservation Alliance - Home COHVCO is a nonprofit organization whose member enthusiasts, organizations and businesses collectively comprise over 200,000 Coloradoans and regular visitors to Colorado and other western states who contribute millions of dollars and thousands of hours annually to off-highway vehicle recreation through registration fees, retail expenditure, project participation and related support. Colorado OHV Coalition The BlueRibbon Coalition is a national recreation group that champions responsible use of 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. BlueRibbon Coalition: Preserving your recreational access to public lands.