LITIGATION CLOUD DISSIPATES OVER RIDING AT AH-NEI AREA
DATE: August 9, 2007
BILLINGS, MT - A lawsuit challenging off-highway vehicle (OHV) access to the BLM-managed Shepherd Ah Nei Recreation Area has been dismissed. "We are definitely pleased with this outcome," said Craig Osterman, Treasure State Alliance (TSA) Executive Director. TSA spearheaded a successful effort by OHV enthusiasts to intervene as parties in the suit and assist in defense of the management of the Area. "This was TSA's maiden voyage on the seas of litigation, and our member families are happy that riding opportunities will continue at the Ah Nei," Osterman concluded.
The latest suit was the second filed by Brian Biggs, who owned property near the area. Mr. Biggs' first suit resulted in a further planning process and Environmental Assessment by the BLM. The second suit, filed in October 2006, reflected disagreement with the outcome of that process. The latest suit was recently dismissed by Mr. Biggs, apparently because he decided to sell his property and leave the area.
The Ah Nei Area is popular with local recreationists due to the variety of riding and other recreational opportunities it offers close to Billings. One portion is used almost exclusively for off-highway vehicle riding and consists of about 50 miles of trails on 1,062 acres. The other portion, about 6,000 acres, offers hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking, picnicking, and bird-watching opportunities. BLM offers 24 hour information regarding the area, including fire or other restrictions, at 406-896-5014.