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Mantle Ranches, Inc. v. U.S. Park Serv.

ELR Citation: 27 ELR 20764
Nos. 95-K-531, 950 F. Supp. 299/(D. Colo., 01/13/1997) order amended

The court amends an order addressing ranching operations within the Dinosaur National Monument (DNM) to prohibit the ranchers' use of all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) and snowmobiles on DNM land, but otherwise refuses to modify the order. The court first holds that the National Park Service (NPS) presents no argument that there has been a change in the law or that new evidence is available. Accordingly, to obtain the modification of the order, the NPS must show clear error or manifest injustice. The court refuses to reconsider the order's authorization of hay storage on a shelf of land because the NPS' arguments on this issue could have been and, in part, were presented during the hearing. Also, the NPS' assertions regarding relative usefulness of the site to the ranch operation and potential weed infestation in the area, allegedly from the introduction of hay into the DNM, are unsupported by the evidence, and the NPS has not shown that the order is manifestly unjust in this regard. Next, the court denies the NPS' request to amend the order's requirement that the NPS restore the ranchers' development of two springs. The NPS requested that the order reflect that the springs are on the DNM's land. The order was based on the NPS' interference with the ranch owners' historic adjudicated water rights, rather than the springs' locale. The NPS has not shown clear error or manifest injustice in this regard. Further, the court has jurisdiction to issue a mandatory injunction and the Administrative Procedure Act provides a general waiver of the government's sovereign immunity from injunctive relief. Last, the court holds that the order should be amended to prohibit the use of ATVs and snowmobiles in violation of federal regulations and a 1975 special use permit along the Yampa Bench Road. The court finds clear error in the order only insofar as the order found that the evidence did not establish the likelihood of the NPS' succeeding on its claim that there had been a violation of the regulations concerning snowmobile and ATV use.

[A prior decision in this litigation is published at 27 ELR 20561.]

Counsel for Plaintiff
Stanley F. Johnson
Kranesh & Raisch
1720 14th St., Boulder CO 80306
(303) 443-6151

Counsel for Defendants
Michael E. Hegarty, Ass't U.S. Attorney
U.S. Attorney's Office
1961 Stout St., Rm. 1200, Denver CO 80294
(303) 844-2081