Federal Court Rulings Protect New Mexico Wildland from
off-road vehicle groups filed suit to use bogus RS 2477 claims to
fight a closure of vehicle trails in a fragile wilderness study area
in the Robledo Mountains near Las Cruces.
Read how off-road groups hoped that
a favorable decision for them in this case would open the floodgates
to claims that could destroy
roadless areas across the West.
off-roaders' arguments did not persuade the courts.
Earthjustice's joined the Bureau of Land Management
to protect the Robledo Mountains Wilderness Study Area in US district
court in New Mexico in March 2003.
Read the district court's
March 2003 opinion dismissing the off-road vehicle groups' claims.
off-roaders appealed, the George W. Bush Justice Department argued in an
October 2003 appeals court brief that mere "use" by vehicles can't
construct a highway under RS 2477.
Read excerpts of
Justice Department's brief, which echo arguments the Justice
Department made in 2002 in a
The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals on
April 7, 2004, ruled for conservation groups and BLM that the Robledo
Mountains would remain protected from damaging off-road vehicle use.
Conservation groups hailed the decision.
After the Appeals Court's decision barring off-road
groups from pushing the bogus road claims, the groups pushed Doņa Ana
County Commissioners to take up the suit for them. The off-roaders
even agreed to pay the costs of the suit if the county would push the
claims that would essentially gut the Robledo Mountains Wilderness
Study Area. The Commissioners initially agreed to the scheme (read
a December 13, 2004, article from the Las Cruces Sun-news). But
cooler heads prevailed later when the Commissioners concluded that
having a wilderness area near town would be a good thing, and that
doing the bidding of "special interest" off-roaders didn't make sense.
the December 15, 2004, article. The story was also reported in
January 13, 2005 Los Cruces Sun Times article.
Catron County Pushes Road No One Wants
Learn more about how Catron County, NM is trying to reopen an old,
washed out road to a subdivision--where no one wants the road
open--using RS 2477.
Updating the Lincoln National Forest Travel Management Plan
Workshops to benefit the public's understanding about
the Lincoln National Forest 's Travel Management Plan and that could
help protect the Lincoln have one citizen in arms about private access
to public lands.
Read a related May 1, 2007 article from the Ruidoso News.
Lincoln National Forest Threatened by County
Otero County Commissioner Clarissa McGinn includes goat
trails, butterfly routes and meteor pathways in her list of roads the
Commission plans to proactively keep open regardless of any Forest
Service determination that they may no longer be legally accessible to
Read a related article in the September 13, 2007 Alamogordo Daily
News and Commission Chairman's
September 15, 2007 response.