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Southern Appalachian Multiple Use Council v. Bergland

ELR Citation: 11 ELR 20679
Nos. No. A-C-80-1, 15 ERC 2049/(W.D.N.C., 04/16/1981)

The court rules that the Secretary of Agriculture may recommend national forest lands east of the 100th meridian for designation as wilderness study areas and manage them as wilderness pursuant to the Wilderness Act and the Eastern Wilderness Act. The court finds that although Congress has exclusive authority to designate wilderness and wilderness study areas in national forests east of the 100th meridian, the Eastern Wilderness Act allows the Secretary to recommend to Congress that certain areas be classified as wilderness study areas and gives the Secretary the responsibility to manage these areas as wilderness pending congressional action on the recommendations. Regarding the claim of one plaintiff, however, the court holds that by depriving plaintiff of access to his private property, which is completely surrounded by the disputed lands, the Secretary has deprived plaintiff of his private property without due process of law. Therefore, the Secretary must reopen the access road to plaintiff's land, or the court will order the Secretary to return these lands to multiple-use management.

Counsel for Plaintiffs
Hamilton C. Horton
Whiting, Horton & Hendrick
450 NCNB Plaza, Winston-Salem NC 27102
(919) 723-1826

S. Jerome Crow
Adams, Hendon, Carson & Crow
P.O. Box 7246, Asheville NC 28807
(704) 252-7381

Wayne T. Elliot
Southeastern Legal Foundation
1800 Century Blvd. NE, Suite 950, Atlanta GA 30245
(404) 325-2255

Counsel for Defendant
Harold M. Edwards, U.S. Attorney; Max O. Cogburn Jr., Ass't U.S. Attorney
P.O. Box 132, Asheville NC 28802
(704) 258-2580

Thomas J. Riley, Estelle H. Rogers
Land and Natural Resources Division
Department of Justice, Washington DC 20530
(202) 633-2845

Counsel for Intervenor-Defendant Sierra Club
Howard I. Fox, Frederick S. Middleton III
Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund, Inc.
Suite 600, 1424 K St. NW, Washington DC 20005
(202) 347-1770

James S. Dockery Jr.
Petree, Stockton, Robinson, Vaugn, Glaze & Maready
1001 N. 4th St., Winston-Salem NC 27102
(919) 725-2351

Counsel for Amicus Curiae American Farm Bureau Fed'n
Allen A. Lauterbach, General Counsel; Richard L. Krause, Jerome J. Werderitch
American Farm Bureau Fed'n, 225 Touhy Ave., Park Ridge IL 60068
(312) 399-5732