Suit filed over Flathead forest roads - Counties, businesses challenge road closures

By the Associated Press
The Montana Standard


WASHINGTON (AP) A group including two Montana counties, businesses and snowmobilers are suing the U.S. Forest Service in federal court here, challenging road closures and overall forest planning in the Flathead National Forest.
They say road closures have hindered fire protection and recreational access.

They are asking a judge to block the Forest Service from closing roads and to order it to revise its management plan for the forest, which dates to 1986, according to the lawsuit.

A spokesman for the northwestern Montana forest did not immediately return a message seeking comment.

Local and regional foresters and U.S. Agriculture Department officials are named as defendants.

The listed plaintiffs include: Flathead and Sanders counties; Montanans for Multiple Use; Montana Gold Prospectors; Montanans for Property Rights; The Flathead Snowmobile Association; North American Wolf Watch; Owens & Hurst Lumber Co.; a Kalispell area business, Leland's Honda, and its owner, Leland Moore; and state Rep. George Everett, R-Kalispell, and State Sen. Jerry O'Neil, R-Columbia Falls.

Environmental groups also have sued the forest over motorized access.


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