Wyoming Federal Judge Strikes Down Roadless Rule

A federal judge in Wyoming on August 12 struck down the so-called Roadless Rule instituted by the Clinton administration in 2001 that bans road construction on some 60 million acres of national forest nationwide.

U.S. District Judge Clarence Brimmer said the rule violated the federal National Environmental Policy Act and the Wilderness Act because in some instances it created defacto Wilderness areas that ban most activities, including off-road recreational riding. The judge said only Congress has the power to create Wilderness.

This is just the latest salvo in a continuing battle among various interests who want to participate in, or ban, certain activities from the 60 million acres of national forest. A U.S. district judge in California earlier reaffirmed the Roadless Rule, which means that for the issue to be fully resolved it ultimately will need to be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.

While roadless areas are called road less, they, in fact, contain miles and miles of motorized trails. Federal officials over the years have repeatedly stated that motorized recreation is allowed in roadless areas. The rule is designed to stop logging and mining on the acreage.