Chain Saws in Wilderness Update

By June 4, 2019 Lands Protection
Chain saw

Photo: National Park Service

Chain Saws in Wilderness Update
June 4th, 2019

Background

On May 7th the Forest Service unexpectedly, and without any public notice or input, announced it would allow chain saws in the Weminuche and South San Juan Wilderness Areas this summer to clear trails starting June 1st. Such approval of non-emergency  motorized equipment in Wilderness areas is a violation of the 1964 Wilderness Act. Along with our partners, we challenged this unnecessary violation of law on our most protected public lands. We also asked you, the public, to take action speak out.

Read our Executive Director’s Column: Wilderness deserves restraint, humility

Update

  • Policy Delayed: On May 31st, due to heavy snowpack, the Forest Service amended their authorization of chain saw use in the Wilderness areas to begin July 8th and go through August 30th. The original dates were June 1 through August 17th.
  • Seeking a Preliminary Injunction: On June 4th, along with our partners, filed a motion for a preliminary injunction (PI). Basically, that means we’re asking that the Forest Service not be able to implement the chain saw policy until a judge has taken a look at the merits of our case challenging it. The courts will either grant us a PI prior to the July 8th start date, putting the policy on hold until a full ruling or deny us, which would allow the Forest Service to move forward as planned on July 8th.

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