Judge rules for U.S. Forest Service on travel management plan
A process begun in 2006 to create a travel management plan (TMP) to designate which forest roads and trails will be open to cars, trucks and off-highway vehicles in the Superior National Forest may be closer to becoming a reality—unless the three environmental groups opposed to the plan once again seek to overturn the Forest Service plan in the courts.
On April 12, 2012, U.S. District Judge Susan Richard Nelson awarded summary judgment to the U.S. Forest Service, giving it the go ahead to proceed with its travel management plan. Judge Richard Nelson rejected the claims of the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy (MCEA), the Sierra Club and Northeastern Minnesotans for Wilderness (NMW) that implementing the travel management plan and allowing off-highway vehicles in the Superior National Forest would degrade the wilderness character of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.
Contacted on April 16, Superior National Forest Gunflint District Ranger Dennis Neitzke said his office had heard about the ruling on April 13. He said, “We’ve already started talking about how to implement it. It takes publishing our motorized vehicle use map. We had that prepared a couple years ago, but now we need to update it.”
However, Neitzke cautioned, “There is a chance they’ll take this to appeals court.”
The groups have 60 days to appeal.