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Motorized users lose bid to ease restrictions on off-road travel in California’s Tahoe National Forest

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A Federal judge upholds modest limits on motorized use in the Tahoe National Forest.

Modest forest plan limits will remain in place

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — A federal judge in California this week upheld a plan that limits off-road motorized use in the Tahoe National Forest. Motorized users had challenged the rules as too restrictive, but conservation advocates said the plan strikes a good balance, enabling motorized access on much of the forest, but protecting sensitive areas.

Several conservation groups, represented by Earthjustice, intervened in the lawsuit in defense of the plan, arguing that there is no way to adequately protect a forest while allowing motor vehicles to trammel all over the forest with no restrictions or limits.

“This is a good decision that strikes a balance to give Tahoe National Forest some necessary, basic protections. One thing both sides of this case agree on: Tahoe National Forest is a stunning, special place,” said Earthjustice attorney Greg Loarie, who argued the case. “With millions of people visiting Tahoe National Forest each year and the rapid increase of motor vehicles throughout the forest, we need some basic limits on motor vehicle use to make sure that we don’t love this place to death. It’s in all of our interests to preserve and protect Tahoe National Forest so that we all can enjoy it.”

“This decision sends a clear message … The days of allowing destruction of our national forests from uncontrolled and unregulated off-road vehicles are at an end. We all have a right to enjoy our public lands, but no one has a right to destroy them,” said Karen Schambach, of Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility.

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