Off-roaders wrecking Tahoe Forest?

Environmental groups challenge lawsuit filed by off-roaders

Conservation groups are clashing with recreationists who have legally challenged a travel-management strategy for Tahoe National Forest.

Environmental groups Earthjustice, the Wilderness Society, the Sierra Club, the Forest Issues Group and others have intervened in a lawsuit filed in July by the Pacific Legal Foundation, which is representing off-road enthusiasts, according to Public News Service.

The lawsuit regards the U.S. Forest Service’s 2010 plan requiring dirt bikes, Jeeps and four-wheelers to stay on the 2,000 miles of designated roads and trails. Conservationists argue off-road vehicles destroy vegetation, erode streambeds and threaten sensitive wildlife, while off-roaders maintain the USFS is “illegally padlocking” more than 800 miles of roads and trails long enjoyed by the public.

Earthjustice attorney Christopher Hudak said that if the USFS plan is undone, “other national forests across California and the rest of the country will be vulnerable to the same threat of unlimited off-road vehicle traffic.”