Bitterroot National Forest to announce process for comments on travel plan soon

Posted at 4:20 PM, Jul 11, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-11 18:20:52-04

HAMILTON – Bitterroot National Forest Supervisor Julie King says she’s “very pleased overall” with a recent judge’s ruling over the Bitterroot Travel Management Plan, even though the agency must take a second look at a ban on mountain bike use.

The plan was adopted in 2016 after years of development and tens of thousands of comments. It closed trails in the Blue Joint and Sapphire Wilderness Study Areas to all motorized use, as well as mountain bikes.

But a couple of weeks ago, U.S. District Court Judge Dana Christensen ruled the Forest Service “abused its discretion” by not allowing more public comments after expanding the number of trails that would be closed to mountain bikes.

Christensen let the rules on ATVs and snowmobiles stand, and King says her staff is preparing to allow the additional public comment on the bike issue and will release details on that process shortly.