2 messages in topic
1 magdalene 2006-02-27 23:01
Posted on Thu, Feb. 16, 2006
Increase in motorboat permits struck down
BY DENNIS LIEN Pioneer PressThe
U.S. Forest Service improperly tripled the number of day-use motorboat permits on three popular lake chains on the edge of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, a federal appeals court concluded Wednesday.
The three-judge panel of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the agency had acted arbitrarily in determining those permit quotas and must recalculate them.
The decision affirms a lower court ruling two years ago that the agency was wrong to increase the number of annual day-use motor permits on the Moose, Farm and Saganaga lake chains from 2,376 to 6,892.
The agency increased the number in 2002 to give local cabin owners and resorts better access.
The agency has since dropped the number of permits to pre-2002 levels.
The chains include lakes on the edge of and within the BWCA where motors still are allowed.
Seven environmental and conservation groups sued, saying the agency's recalculation violated a 1978 compromise restricting motorized use within the wilderness. After the lower court sided with environmentalists, the agency appealed.
The appeals court reversed one district court decision, saying the agency had the authority to recalculate the numbers provided it used reliable data.
The Forest Service could not be reached for comment. Environmental groups, however, praised the decision.
"The Forest Service has been told they can't do sloppy work like this, said Becky Rom, an Ely, Minn., native and an honorary member of the board of the Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness, one of the plaintiffs.
"The court has said, 'Go back yet again and recalculate with input from the various stakeholders,' said Betsy Schmiesing, one of the lawyers representing the plaintiffs.
In addition to the Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness, the plaintiffs include the Sierra Club North Star Chapter, Superior Wilderness Action Network, American Lands Alliance, Minnesota Canoe Association, American Canoe Association and Minnesotans for Responsible Recreation.
Dennis Lien can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
2 paddlerjimmy 2006-03-03 13:28
Chain of Lakes decision good
Cook County News-Herald
Last Updated: Thursday, March 02nd, 2006 11:20:01 AM
The question has been asked, how the U.S. Court of Appeals ruling in the Chain of Lakes case is a win for the Forest Service and Conservationists with Common Sense (CWCS)?
The Forest Service, with CWCS as intervenors, appealed the U.S. District Court?s ruling on two counts ? that the Forest Service didn?t have the right to recalculate the Chain of Lakes permits to correct an error; and the recalculation was arbitrary and capricious.
The U.S. Court of Appeals reversed the first count, stating the USFS has authority to recalculate the base period use to correct a significant legal error made as a result of the 1999 Dombeck ruling. So, this ruling is in the Forest Service?s and CWCS?s favor ? a win.
The Dombeck ruling redefined ?that particular lake? to mean just the first lake of each chain, not the entire chain of lakes. For more than 20 years the Forest Service had interpreted ?that particular lake? to mean the entire chain. Resorts, outfitters and property owners had been exempted from needing a permit when they traveled the entire chain of lakes. They received a sticker for their boats instead. This was part of the compromise of the 1978 BWCA Wilderness Act.
The Dombeck ruling restricted that exemption to just the first lake of each chain, thus a permit is now required to access the remainder of the chain of lakes to the first portage. There were never any permits allocated for any of the chain of lakes, and that is why the Forest Service had to recalculate the permit quotas, to correct this error.
On the second count, the Court of Appeals ruled that the method the Forest Service used to recalculate the base period permits for each of the three Chain of Lakes (Moose Lake, Farm Lake and Seagull River chains) was unreliable or inadequately explained, thus upholding the District Court?s ruling that the way in which the Forest Service conducted the recalculations was arbitrary and capricious.
But, the Court of Appeals then ruled: Having determined the USFS improperly recalculated the base period use, we conclude the USFS must recalculate the quotas consistent with BWCAW Act and the views expressed herein.
We consider this another win. The permit quotas for the Chain of Lakes will be recalculated, but there will be a delay as to when they will be added.
CWCS looks forward to working with the Forest Service in recalculating the number of permits for the three Chain of Lakes.
I hope this clarifies things for everyone.
Nancy McReady, president