Is the environment made for humans or vice versa?


Today PLF filed a motion for summary judgment in federal district court to reverse the government’s decision to prohibit motorized travel on hundreds of miles of roads and trails in Tahoe National Forest. Historically, these routes were available to individuals who wanted to experience the natural pleasures afforded by the forest. In a misguided effort to protect the forest from human enjoyment, the government has tabooed entry to remote and wild areas that are accessible to most people only by means of motor vehicles.

To enjoy the wilds, you need to be able to get to the wilds. Before the government’s prohibition, over 800 miles of routes in Tahoe National Forest took people into the majesty of the deep woods by motor vehicle. Now, 90 percent of those roads and trails are closed, thereby setting insurmountable barriers for many who wish to enjoy Mother Nature at her wildest.

Representing eight clients who for years have enjoyed the pleasures of the forest via motorized access, PLF filed its legal brief in the case of Friends of Tahoe Access v. United States Department of Agriculture, explaining that the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) protects the human environment and was enacted by Congress to preserve the environment for people. NEPA was never meant to keep people out of the environment. But that is the result under the wrong-headed government decision to close hundreds of miles of access routes in Tahoe National Forest.

The hearing on PLF’s legal challenge is scheduled for September 25, 2013, in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California.