Thread: NMOHVA File LAWSUIT on Santa Fe National Forest

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    Default NMOHVA File LAWSUIT on Santa Fe National Forest

    New Mexico Off Highway Vehicle Alliance Files Lawsuit on Santa Fe National Forest

    The New Mexico Off Highway Vehicle Alliance (NMOHVA) filed a lawsuit against the Santa Fe National Forest in federal district court on December 11th. Our lawsuit contests the Forest's Travel Management decision signed by Forest Supervisor Maria T. Garcia on June 12th and upheld by the Region 3 Appeal Deciding Officer on October 2nd.

    "NMOHVA filed this lawsuit on the behalf of our members but it really is for everyone who uses a vehicle in the forest," said NMOHVA President Jim Tyldesley. "Most of the public has no idea that this decision closed 70% of the existing roads and trails, reduced vehicle camping nearly 95%, and virtually eliminated hunters being able to use a vehicle to retrieve game.

    NMOHVA has posted a list of Frequently Asked Questions on our website at www.nmohva.org on both the lawsuit and the Travel Managment Decision. We will keep the site updated with all of the latest news and information concerning this action.

    Go to the NMOHVA webpage and DONATE to the Access Defense Fund !! This fight belongs to ALL of us.

    Lawsuits are very expensive and the final resort. We have been trying to work with the Santa Fe National Forest since 2005 and they have refused to listen or to obey federal laws. The place to make a stand is here. The time to fight is now! We call on all of our members and friends to stand with us and help us fight this decision.

    tweenerlj--NMOHVA Board of Directors

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    Thanks for the post. As a frequent visitor to the Santa Fe National Forest I've watched my access eroded over the years. In recent memory the route to my favorite camp site in Twin Cabins Canyon was closed down. The recently enacted Travel Management Decision by the SFNF will shut down the remaining camp sites that I have enjoyed for decades. I've been enjoying responsible public land use and camping in the SFNF for forty years and unless the NMOHVA prevails with their lawsuit, not a single one of the sites I've enjoyed since my childhood will be accessible.
    Abel

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sergeant_V View Post
    Thanks for the post. As a frequent visitor to the Santa Fe National Forest I've watched my access eroded over the years. In recent memory the route to my favorite camp site in Twin Cabins Canyon was closed down. The recently enacted Travel Management Decision by the SFNF will shut down the remaining camp sites that I have enjoyed for decades. I've been enjoying responsible public land use and camping in the SFNF for forty years and unless the NMOHVA prevails with their lawsuit, not a single one of the sites I've enjoyed since my childhood will be accessible.
    I am with you and have a very similar history of camping in the SFNF. There are 155 National Forests in the US. Most have had to do some form of Travel Management decision to comply with the Travel Management Rule. Of all those decisions, there has been only THREE challenged in court to date by the OHV community (our lawsuit is #3). This is about much more than the camping, roads and trails lost in the Santa Fe National Forest. It is about sending a clear message to the agency that we are smarter, stronger, and much more determined than we were in the past. Help us send that message!

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    I'm a member of NMOHVA and will also be donating to the Access Defense Fund. Let me know if there is anything else I can do.
    Abel

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sergeant_V View Post
    I'm a member of NMOHVA and will also be donating to the Access Defense Fund. Let me know if there is anything else I can do.
    Help us spread the word. NMOHVA will need as much support as we can get. Tell your friends and neighbors.

    A positive outcome in this fight could have a ripple effect across the nation in terms of public access. Help NMOHVA in keeping our public lands open to the public.

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    We have been actively working on the Travel Management Rule in the Santa Fe National Forest since early 2006. During the past seven years, one of the issues that consistently plagued us was that "the general public" didn't have a clue what was about to happen! That situation hasn't changed one bit even after the Forest Service's final decision. The agency is getting ready to implement its decision (even while we challenge it in court) and "Joe Q Public" will be shocked when he finds his favorite camping site or trail closed next spring. It won't matter one bit that they have been enjoying the same spot for the last twenty years.

    The same is true for the hunters who have historically enjoyed the Santa Fe National Forest. They are going to be stunned when they find out that they can no longer retrieve their downed big game with a vehicle unless it is next to a road. And don't forget, there will be over 5000 less miles of road to use in both the hunt and the retrieval. There are going to be a lot of really surprised and angry forest users.

    Our big question to you is: "How can we effectively get the word out to the public?" How do we reach those campers and hunters and other forest users? We want your ideas and feedback. Contact the NMOHVA board at board@nmohva.org. Each of you can also help by talking to your family, friends, coworkers, etc. and letting them know what has happened. Most of them are still completely unaware that the decision to close 70% of the roads and trails in the Santa Fe has already been made. It is very important that they understand that the access has already been lost and the NMOHVA lawsuit is the only chance to get it back."

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    Thanks for the post...
    I think legal challenges like this will have to be more common in the future as it is such a successful method used by those who want to shut down motorized access.

    I think the best this is to ask everyone to spread this message through whatever social media outlets they use. If you guys don't have a NMOHVA facebook page yet, please set one up so folks can share it.
    Also info on how to donate will help for those of us in other states but like to visit New Mexico.

    Lastly I know when I was growing up in the Texas Panhandle we often vacationed in New Mexico so if you can get Texans, Colorado folks and other surrounding states to add their voice it would help. Recreation dollars make a difference in decisions.
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    Lance,

    Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/NMOHVA

    Would a cross post or link in the Four Corners Region subforum be appropriate?
    Abel

    1995 Defender 90 with some stuff | 1994 Range Rover | 2009 Adventure Trailers Chaser
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1leglance View Post
    Thanks for the post...
    info on how to donate will help for those of us in other states but like to visit New Mexico.
    Donations can be easily made by paypal here: http://nmohva.wildapricot.org/Defaul...pageId=1344243

    I have posted this on Colorado4x4.org...How do we reach the Texans?

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    Here are 2 updates to this.

    LAWSUIT UPDATE
    April 11, 2012


    In December, NMOHVA filed a lawsuit challenging the Santa Fe National Forest's (SFNF) Travel Management decision. What has happened since then?

    A fair question and one that NMOHVA will try to answer in a series of "Lawsuit Updates". NMOHVA, its members, and many other supporters have invested a great amount of energy, time, and money into this lawsuit. Its outcome is very important to all of us. We promise to keep you informed during the (seemingly) long process leading to a decision by the judge.

    What Has Happened So Far:
    November 14, 2012 - NMOHVA retains Karen Budd-Falon of Budd-Falen Law Offices to represent us in challenging the Travel Management Decision. Budd-Falen is a nationally known property rights and federal lands issues attorney based in Cheyenne, Wyoming.
    December 10, 2012 - NMOHVA files a lawsuit challenging the Forest Service's decision in federal district court in Albuquerque.
    December 17, 2013 - The "Initial Scheduling Order" is filed. This is the court's initial order for our attorney and the FS attorneys to get together and agree to a schedule by a certain date.
    February 11, 2013 - The Center for Biological Diversity, Wild Earth Guardians, and the Sierra Club file for intervenor status with the court. In law, intervention is a procedure to allow a 3rd party, called an "intervenor", to join ongoing litigation, at the discretion of the court, without the permission of the original litigants. The basic rationale for intervention is that a judgment in a particular case may affect the rights of nonparties, who ideally should have the right to be heard. We fully expected CBD and their cronies to intervene in this case and they did not disappoint.
    February 12, 2013 - NMOHVA and the Forest Service agree to a preliminary schedule for the case which provides a final decision by the judge sometime this fall.
    February 15, 2013 - The Forest Service provides the Administrative Record (AR) index to NMOHVA for review. The AR is the entire body of "evidence" that the parties can use in presenting their case and the judge can review to decide the case. The AR is primarily the Project Record the Forest Service compiled during the entire Travel Management Process for the SFNF. The proposed AR list contains nearly 1200 documents. NMOHVA requests copies of the actual documents to make sure they are complete and accurate.
    March 12, 2013 - NMOHVA receives electronic copies of the proposed AR totalling 27 gigabytes. Yes, GIGABYTES!
    March 22, 2013 - NMOHVA submits the list of documents we want added to the AR.
    April 9, 2013 - NMOHVA submits electronic copies of the documents we want added to the FS for review.
    Next Steps:

    We are currently waiting to see if the FS will agree with the additions or whether we need to file a formal motion with the court to get them added. If the FS agrees to add the documents we requested, the next steps are:

    5/6 - NMOHVA files its Opening Brief.
    6/21 - The FS files their Response Brief.
    7/22 - NMOHVA files its Reply Brief.
    Oral arguments, if they take place in this case (at the judge's discretion), would take place in August.

    As you can see, a lot goes on in the background before the first brief is even filed. NMOHVA has been very busy, spending literally hundreds of hours, helping our attorney prepare for the case so the attorney doesn't have to charge us legal fees to do it all herself.

    The bulk of the work by our legal team has yet to take place. We continue to ask our membership and many others to contribute to NMOHVA's Access Defense Fund to finance this challenge. THANK YOU! We couldn't do this WITHOUT YOU!

    We will continue to send out Lawsuit Updates as we pass other significant milestones.

    Together, we ARE DOING more!

    LAWSUIT UPDATE #4
    June 19, 2013




    Judge DENIES Intervener Status
    to 'Big Green' in the NMOHVA Lawsuit

    We have received great news on our lawsuit challenging the Santa Fe National Forest Travel Management decision. The judge has DENIED intervener status to the "Big Green" gang who filed for intervener status in the case. United States District Judge William Paul Johnson denied a request for intervener status, filed by the Center for Biological Diversity, WildEarth Guardians, and the Sierra Club (collectively called "the Center" in the judge's decision). While denying intervener status to the green organizations doesn't have any direct bearing on the ultimate outcome of our case, it is still very big news.

    In lawsuits such as ours, intervention allows a third party, called an "intervener", to join ongoing litigation. This is at the discretion of the court and is done without the permission of the original parties (NMOHVA and the Forest Service) in the lawsuit. The rationale for intervention is that a judgment in a particular case may affect the rights of nonparties, whose interests are not adequately represented by the original parties in the suit. The intervener can submit their own legal arguments to influence the judge's decision.

    The judge's denial of the intervener status indicates that the judge is not favorably biased towards our opposition. It would have been very easy to grant the motion. The granting of intervener status to the environmental organizations is so common that we didn't even bother to challenge it. But the Big Green litigation machine and its horde of lawyers didn't convince the judge.

    Even more interesting is the reason why the judge denied the intervener status. He essentially said that the Forest Service is already representing the green's anti-OHV viewpoint and he didn't need them cluttering up the case. Here's an excerpt from what the judge wrote:

    "However, the Center also argues that the Forest Service will not adequately represent its interests, either-and this does not make sense to the Court. In designing and attempting to implement a Travel Plan which intends to curb the use of OHV on forest land, the Forest Service appears to be taking the position of environmental groups (such as the Center) voicing a concern for the environmental effect of OHV use on national forest land."

    The judge goes on to explain that, "The Court is confident that the Forest Service will provide the Court with ample information and legal authority to support its position in this matter, and finds that additional briefing would not be helpful and perhaps may even distract from the issues at the center of this litigation." You can read the judge's entire Order Denying the Motion to Intervene at NMOHVA's website (www.nmohva.org).

    This means that ONLY NMOHVA and the Forest Service are allowed to present their arguments in this case. The judge will base his decision on the administrative record and the arguments made by only these two parties. This is one case where Big Green will be sitting on the sidelines.
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