Turns out snowmobiling isn’t the only contested activity in National Parks/Forests/Monuments. A recent lawsuit against the the U.S. Bureau of Land Management challenges the managemnet of the Grand Canyon-Parashant and Vermillion Cliffs national monuments. Specifically the permission of off road vehicle use in the monument is causing a lot of damage to the landscape and artifacts. The BLM counters that it has taken all environmental concerns into consideration and that it is within their sole discretion to interpret the presidential proclamation. The case is still in the pretrial stages of the District court so it will be interesting to see how it develops later on. The article mentions that a beneficial effect of the case is a possible active dialogue on how to best manage the national monuments.
Here is an article in the New York Times along the lines of our discussion in class this week about what is a wilderness. It concerns a lawsuit brought by the state of Wyoming against the Forest Service for a policy restricting road development into and on national forests. The state argues that such a restriction would be de facto wilderness designation. The court ruled that “full wilderness protection was far deeper than the mere banning of roads in certain places and that the Forest Service had broad jurisdiction in setting the balance of uses on the lands that it manages”. This case was heard by a three Judge panel and it is likely that the State will ask for an en banc hearing by the court.