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Recreational groups file suit against Montana travel plan

A coalition of recreational groups has filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District of Montana challenging the Travel Management Plan for a portion of the Lewis and Clark National Forest in north central Montana.

According to the suit, more than 50 percent of the forest lands previously open to motorized vehicle travel were closed by the Travel Plan, which was confirmed as the U.S. Forest Service’s final decision in January.

“We seek balance between protection of natural and historical resources and the ability of a diverse population to enjoy them,” said John Borgreen of the Russell Country Sportsmen. “If this decision is allowed to stand, it could force property owners to ride expert-level ATV trails to gain access to their backcountry cabins.”

Joining the recreational groups are the Specialty Vehicle Institute of America (SVIA) and the Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC).

“The SVIA and MIC are strong supporters of managed OHV use; however, the Lewis and Clark plan favors wholesale closures over effective management, said SVIA Executive Vice President Paul Vitrano. “The industry continues to support the Travel Management Rule as well as efforts by the Forest Service to effectively manage OHV use, but in some cases, like the Lewis and Clark, it will be necessary to take additional steps to ensure an equitable outcome.”

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