Posted: Thursday, August 11, 2011 9:00 AM
A group of residents from a small Idaho town won't be able to challenge road closures on national forest land.
A federal judge has dismissed the Village of Yellow Pine Association and a private business from a lawsuit against the U.S. Forest Service's travel management plans for the region.
The group claimed the agency effectively shut down more than 80 percent of the roads in a popular recreational area of the Payette National Forest in violation of administrative law.
U.S. District Judge Edward Lodge in Boise has not ruled on the merits of the lawsuit, but dismissed the association and the business from the case on procedural grounds.
The group did not appeal a decision notice filed about two years after the 2008 plan was released, thus it hasn't exhausted the administrative process and can't argue the case in federal court, the opinion said.
The controversy over road closures in the Idaho national forest is unlikely to end soon, however. A recreation group and two private citizens will be able to carry on with the lawsuit.
Also, the government of Valley County filed a complaint earlier this year against the Forest Service's travel management plans for the Payette National Forest. In that case, the county has already been determined to have standing to sue the agency over the plan.