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UFWDA Community Forum  |  Access (Land Use, RTF, Advocacy, etc)  |  General Land Advocacy  |  Topic: UFWDA & Recreation partners huge success in access law suit « previous next »
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Author Topic: UFWDA & Recreation partners huge success in access law suit  (Read 1986 times)
Carla Boucher
UFWDA Executive Director & Legal Counsel
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« on: March 22, 2007, 01:58:24 pm »

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT Carla Boucher (757) 546-7969

SUCCESS!  Court Rules in Favor of UFWDA and its Recreation Partners Against Bluewater Network, Wildlands Center for Preventing Roads, and other Environmentalists

UFWDA and its recreation partners intervened on behalf of the National Park
Service (NPS)  in a 2005 lawsuit brought by Bluewater Network, Wildlands Center for Preventing Roads (Wildlands CPR), and National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) against the NPS.  The purpose of the suit was to prohibit ORV use in parks across the country.

UFWDA and our recreation partners Cape Hatteras Access Preservation Alliance (CHAPA), American Sportfishing Association (ASA), Dare and Hyde Counties, North Carolina, and United Mobile Sportfishermen (UMS) asked the court to dismiss all 8 issues in the case, arguing that the environmental groups lacked standing and failed to properly state their claim.  The other intervenors in the case filed similar claims as UFWDA and included the Specialty Vehicle Institute of America (SVIA), the Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC), and the BlueRibbon Coalition (BRC). 

“The case will move forward but is restricted to a very narrow set of issues”, stated Carla Boucher, nationally-recognized attorney for United Four Wheel Drive Associations.  “The court ruled on March 21, 2007 that Bluewater did not have standing on any of the issues and granted our request to dismiss them from the case entirely.  The court found in our favor on all but 2 of the issues and limited another issue to just 3 of the 18 park units cited”, commented Boucher.

 “Recreation will continue to vigilantly protect access in the 3 remaining parks at issue in the case and fulfill our UFWDA mission to protect, promote, and provide 4x4 recreational access worldwide”, Boucher stated. 

# # #


United Four Wheel Drive Associations is the world’s leading representative of all-brand four wheel drive enthusiasts.  UFWDA benefits, developed and tested true over the past 30 years include four wheel drive safety and awareness education; user ethics programs such as adopt-a-road, conservation volunteer, and volunteer trail patrol; assistance with new club formation;  education seminars to aid four wheelers through complex state and federal programs affecting trail access;  internet forums designed to connect members globally and instantaneously;  legal action in critical issues effecting four wheel drive access, and unrestrained member access to its full-time legislative advocate and nationally-recognized attorney working exclusively for four wheel drive enthusiasts to protect access and prevent road and trail closures.  UFWDA, 14525 SW Millikan Way #22622, Beaverton, Oregon 97005-2343, 1-800-448-3932 (44-UFWDA), info@ufwda.org.
« Last Edit: March 22, 2007, 02:09:50 pm by Carla Boucher » Logged

Carla Boucher, Attorney
United Four Wheel Drive Associations
P.O. Box 15696
Chesapeake, VA  23328
(757) 546-7969
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« Reply #1 on: March 22, 2007, 02:13:59 pm »

This is terrific news..
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Melissa Simmons
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« Reply #2 on: March 22, 2007, 02:29:11 pm »

Way to go Carla!  Thank you.

Melissa
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Peter Vahry
UFWDA International Vice-President
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« Reply #3 on: March 22, 2007, 03:30:38 pm »

Well done Carla, congratulations.

Peter
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Auckland Four Wheel Drive Club Inc, 4x4 Challenges NZ Inc, NZFWDA life member
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« Reply #4 on: March 22, 2007, 04:59:22 pm »

Great job Carla!!!  Once again you have proven what an asset you are to UFWDA!!!
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« Reply #5 on: March 22, 2007, 08:21:44 pm »

Carla what / where are the three remaining park units?

And do you have a short, quick overview of the case and why it was important?


People are asking..

Thanks,

Shawn
« Last Edit: March 22, 2007, 08:24:33 pm by Shawn Pagan » Logged

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« Reply #6 on: March 22, 2007, 08:25:59 pm »

There is a message in this "win" that is being overlooked.

The "Readers Digest" version is Bluewater Network was found to lack "standing".

In other words, they were not involved in the process and still decided to file suit because they did not like the decision.

The real message to walk away with is:

You need to be involved with the administrative process BEFORE you can file suit because you do not agree with the decision.

To that extend, UFWDA (Carla) has been involved with the administrative process from the beginning.  That means the UFWDA maintained "standing" within the law suit.

Bkuewater was not invovled with the administrative process from the beginning.  Hence, as a "non-participant" in the administrative process, they lack 'standing'.

The adage applies:  Silence implies concent.

Thanks to Carla's efforts, UFWDA was involved and recreation did prevail.  The system does work when the steps are followed.

So, What has UFWDA done for you?  We have prevailed and allowed recreation to have an opportunity. 

Yes, this is a big win.  It is only a win in a singular battle.  There are many more to come.

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Todd Ockert
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« Reply #7 on: March 22, 2007, 08:48:29 pm »

Outstanding work Carla for our cause here.

You are truely a great American in the fight for our freedom.

Todd
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Pat Brower
Great Lakes Four Wheel Drive Association
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« Reply #8 on: March 22, 2007, 11:08:04 pm »

You are truely a great American in the fight for our freedom.

You are truely the greatest American in the fight for our freedom.
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Carla Boucher
UFWDA Executive Director & Legal Counsel
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« Reply #9 on: March 23, 2007, 08:49:07 am »

Thanks for the kind words Todd, but Pat got it right, you are the greatest American in the fight for our freedom.  What we do for access is NOTHING compared to what being an American is dedicating your career to the Navy and protecting our freedoms.  We just protect us from our fellow Americans, you protect our freedom against the whole world!

Shawn -   Here is the quick overview of the case and why it is so important.  I have to give one disclaimer right up front.  This case has been complicated from the beginning and the court ruling is complicated and the issues are complicated.  I had to prepare a spreadsheet just to work through exactly what the judge's order said!  So my quick overview is oversimplifying things a lot.

This case is really important for us to be involved in because Bluewater Network, Wildlands Center for Preventing Roads (Wildlands CPR), and National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) (all representing 70 other environmental groups ) are trying to prohibit all ORV use in the NPS.  What's crazy about the way the environmentalists brought the suit is that their request was really broad across the board and they didn't really pinpoint what they thought the problem was.  They even asked for the NPS to prohibit ORV use in parks that already prohibit ORV use!  Their claims were so broad it was hard for us, and for the court, to tell whether they were talking about all parks, some parks, just a few of them or what.  Left unchecked, I have no doubt the environmentalists would have liked to have gotten the court to make a ruling pertaining to every park, even those parks that have long-standing and public involved ORV management plans. 

Judge Lamberth's ruling on March 21st narrowed the suit down from 8 issues to just 3.  And 1 of the three issues he narrowed down from 18 parks to just 3 -
Canyonlands and Arches National Parks and Amistad National Recreation Area.  So the suit will continue to move toward trial but only on three issues.  Those issues are (1) whether it was lawful for the NPS to refuse to repeal ORV authorizations in Canyonlands and Arches National Parks and Amistad NRA; (2) whether it was unlawful for the  NPS to refuse to adopt ORV enforcement procedures and an ORV monitoring program; and (3) whether the NPS unlawfully reacted to the environmentalists Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) requests.   Finally, the ruling only allows the Wildlands CPR and NPCA to be involved in the suit.  Bluewater was dismissed from the case for lack of standing. 

One super important win in this case is that interim closure orders are not a part of this case anymore.  You see, if the court hadn't dismissed that issue and the environmentalists eventually won the NPS might have been forced to close the parks to ORV use UNTIL the NPS finished going through ORV planning.  It could have put a halt to all ORV use for many years while the parks went through the public process of planning.   

Carla

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Carla Boucher, Attorney
United Four Wheel Drive Associations
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(757) 546-7969
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« Reply #10 on: March 23, 2007, 09:27:27 am »

Thanks Carla, that's a great short version.  I'm going to pass this around as much as I can.

- Shawn
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Todd Ockert
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« Reply #11 on: March 23, 2007, 09:44:07 am »

Pat and Carla

Thanks for correcting me.  But my fight for our freedom means nothing without people like everyone here who enjoy the wilderness and access for all.  I could go on and on about what it means for me and the others like me who truely believe that this is the greatest country on this planet. 

I truely enjoy only a couple of things in life!  My Family, the Navy, and my jeep and access to the trails to use my jeep.

There are many people involved in all these fights to keep land open for us, and it would be hard to mention them all here.
So, if you have your hand in the fight to keep lands open for me, and others, Thanks. 
I know people like Carla, John and many others associated with United put in many hours to keep lands open for all of us. 
So, if we ever have the opportunity to meet, I will buy you a drink of your choice. 

Todd
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« Reply #12 on: March 23, 2007, 10:46:40 am »

One super important win in this case is that interim closure orders are not a part of this case anymore.  You see, if the court hadn't dismissed that issue and the environmentalists eventually won the NPS might have been forced to close the parks to ORV use UNTIL the NPS finished going through ORV planning.  It could have put a halt to all ORV use for many years while the parks went through the public process of planning.   

I really want to emphasis the importance of this statement made by Carla.  Even though NPS (National Parks) doesn't have that many OHV trails, the significant importance of this is that had this passed or gone un-noticed or unchallenged this was probably only their first step - if they (anti access groups) had one their next step would have been to sue USDA (Forest Service), BLM, DNRC and other land managers using this as precedent to stop all OHV use on Public Lands until ORV planning was completed.

Just imagine if you will trying to get those routes added back later or even being able to GPSD those routes to get them on the maps.

- Shawn
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Carla Boucher
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« Reply #13 on: March 23, 2007, 02:41:36 pm »

...had this passed or gone un-noticed or unchallenged this was probably only their first step - if they (anti access groups) had one their next step would have been to sue USDA (Forest Service), BLM, DNRC and other land managers using this as precedent to stop all OHV use on Public Lands until ORV planning was completed.

Thank you so much for reminding me Shawn.

In fact, Bluewater and friends have already petitioned both the BLM and the USFS (US Forest Service) with almost the same exact petition they served to the NPS.  This is their first step for sure.  Already we can place safe bets that they won't make the same pleading errors with the USFS the BLM when they decide to sue them.  They are learning and growing and by the time they get to the next case they will make less mistakes and it will be that much more challenging for us to fight them. 

What has the USFS done about the petition to them?  One could speculate the USFS Transportation Management Rule (OHV Route Desiignation Rule) is the agency response. ? ? ? 

What has the BLM done about the petition to them?  One could speciulate the BLM has decided to do nothing.  There is a US Supreme Court case decided in 2005/2006 whose ruling prevents agencies from being forced into action by a law suit if the agency does not already have regulations requiring them to act.  The public is given the right to petition for rulemaking but the agencies are not required to answer.  One could speculate that the BLM thinks "taking no action on the petition" is a safer way to go.  Remember, the NPS is being sued because they took some action on the petition, it just wasn't the action the environmentalists liked. 

Thank you for making this very important point Shawn.

Carla
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Carla Boucher, Attorney
United Four Wheel Drive Associations
P.O. Box 15696
Chesapeake, VA  23328
(757) 546-7969
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