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SWFWDA is conducting litigation (a lawsuit) against the Bureau Of Land Management in which the courts have allowed the Earth Justice Institute and the Wilderness Society to intervene on behalf of the BLM.

This lawsuit is specifically referring to a number of roads (or trails) in the Robledo WSA in South-eastern New Mexico (location of famous trails as Wolf’s Run and The Guardian).

Currently a petition has been filed for administrative review to show that these roads have existed since the 1950’s.... The BLM is 5 years away from the closing of these roads and SWFWDA is 3 years into litigation. And in all probability it will be another 5 years before the case is settled.

The Govt. handles these cases by going thru motions and finding "technical" issues with the case and they bring these to the court long before they are willing to discuss the meat and potatoes of the case.

This is a precedence setting litigation that will dictate other lawsuits all around the country - which is why (a) the Environmental Organizations are intervening on behalf of the BLM and (b) why this case will cost money. The Feds and Wilderness Groups have deep pockets and will force SWFWDA to spend as much money up front as they can - hoping this forces them to go away - something SHR hopes SWFWDA does not do; SWFWDA needs to win this case.

Mr. Peters (the attorney for SWFWDA) feels that the BLM would be willing to work out a compromise but because of the allowed intervention by the Environmental Organizations any compromise worked out with the BLM would be vetoed.

If SWFWDA wins this lawsuit it will have far-reaching implications across the country –

RS2477 applies to any road (or trail) that was created prior to 1976 and suggests that by federal law this is an open road that cannot be closed by any government or private agency without a public vote. The question being debated is rather an RS2477 road can be a route that was only used for recreational purposes.

For example if SWFWDA wins it could force the Govt. to open a number of forest roads that many of us have used to wheel on and enjoy... and in many cases will leave open many areas that are currently facing closure today. If these “roads” have existed for many years, have been used by the recreational users (that's us) then they can not be closed without public vote....

Think about it; here in Texas this lawsuit could in turn make closures in Angelina Forest, and along the Canadian River and Uvalde River (and many other places) illegal.

Donations can be sent to:

SWFWDA LUF
c/o Jerry Ward, Treasurer
3553 Appaloosa Dr.
Sunland Park, NM 88063
 
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