This morning, a coalition of off-road groups took their challenge to the federal government’s arbitrary and illegal closure of over 300 miles of trails near Moab, UT, to federal district court for the District of Utah. The federal court filing follows a ruling by the Interior Board of Land Appeals to deny a stay of the closures earlier this month. Now it will be up to a Utah federal judge to decide whether the trails will remain closed while the litigation is pending, or whether they will be open and available to the hundreds of thousands of Jeepers, mountain bikers, dirt bike riders, and others who have enjoyed them for decades.
The coalition, which consists of the BlueRibbon Coalition, Colorado Off-Road Trail Defenders, and an individual named Patrick McKay, is asking the federal court to issue a preliminary injunction that will allow the trails to remain open while the litigation is ongoing.
“The government has already announced that they would begin re-vegetating, bulldozing, and otherwise erasing these trails the moment they were closed,” said Matt Miller, a Senior Attorney at the Texas Public Policy Foundation and lead attorney on the case. “That is why an immediate injunction is necessary. If these closures are not immediately reversed, there could be no trails left after this litigation concludes, even after the plaintiffs win.”
“The federal government’s closing of these world-class routes ignores the evidence on the ground, the needs of the community, and the rich history of off-road recreation in the area,” added TPPF Attorney Nate Curtisi. “Worse yet, this government overreach was done in violation of a myriad of constitutional and statutory protections that were made specifically to avoid these kind of arbitrary and capricious actions.”
“After reviewing the legal deficiencies with this decision, we committed to our members that we would do everything we can to keep these popular trails open,” said Ben Burr, BlueRibbon Coalition Executive Director. “Now that they are closed and the Bureau of Land Management will get to work erasing these trails from the landscape, the irreparable harm to our members will be difficult to quantify. It’s impossible to place a value on generations worth of traditions, experiences, and meaningful connections to these spectacular lands. The BLM didn’t just close 317 miles of trails, they closed 317 miles of some of the best trails, and we are prepared to do what it takes to keep them open.”
To read the full complaint, click here.
To read the Motion for 705 Relief and Preliminary Injunction, click here.
Texas Public Policy Foundation is a non-profit free-market research institute based in Austin that aims to foster human flourishing by protecting and promoting liberty, opportunity, and personal responsibility. The Center for the American Future defends the Constitution through legal opposition to government overreach. The Center launches legal challenges at the administrative, district, and appellate court levels on behalf of ordinary people whose lives, liberty, and property are threatened by government action in defiance of the Constitution.
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