Earlier today I got off the phone with Jim Manley, an attorney for Mountain States Legal Foundation. These guys essentially do pro bono work as it relates to public access to public lands. This case is something theyíre interested in, but...
The long and short of it is that since the Forest Service (FS) is now undergoing new Travel Management Plan (TMP) activities, fighting the closures at this point in time seems sort of a mute point. He very strongly recommended that all interested parties comment regarding FSR 371, FSR 322A, and any other areas that are of concern to you. This, he stated, would provide every person or organization who commented with legal standing, meaning that we can appeal whatever decision the FS makes. He also indicated that he wanted me to keep him abreast of the developments because if it ever comes to an appeal, he and his firm would be interested in looking deeper into this matter and perhaps helping us with the appeal(s), litigation, etc.
So, I refer you back a few messages of mine ago where I shared with you the address to which to send/e-mail your comment(s), along with my comments and an explanation of what a substantive comment must entail. You ought to use that as your guide. Now that the FS is developing a new TMP, letís see if we canít get our access back.
A few additional notes. The other attorney I spoke to would as a first step study all of the materials I gathered and would then propose a sit-down with the leadership at the FS to resolve this. He most definitely feels that they donít have any legal support for their actions. This could be effective, but would cost between 1-2K. In the end, Iím afraid that the FS would simply default to the TMP, and perhaps rightfully so, and 1-2K was essentially spend for nothing. So again, comments is the way to go, get involved in the process! Working through the appeals process costs nothing more than a stamp and at the end of that process, thereís still the option to sue the FS.
On the Governorís side of things, weíve been completely ignored. His two policy attorneys that Iíve been put in touch with do not return any of my e-mails or phone calls. Next year is an election year for him and I will be sure to work on his retirement. If anyone is interested in helping out, let me know.
As far as Congressman Lamborn goes, I asked for another meeting in which several of us will ask him to tell us with specificity what heíll do to get our public roads back. The request went out 10/29 and to date I have not heard back. So earlier today I sent his scheduling person an e-mail. He should be aware that 2010 is an election year for him too.
As always, stay tuned...