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Montana Wilderness Ass'n v. McAllister

ELR Citation: 41 ELR 20352
Nos. 09-36051 et al., (9th Cir., 12/01/2011)

The Ninth Circuit remanded the U.S. Forest Service's 2006 travel management plan for the Gallatin National Forest. The Montana Wilderness Study Act of 1977 requires the Service to ensure that current users of a wilderness study area are able to enjoy the wilderness character of the area as it existed in 1977, pending a congressional decision on whether to designate the area as wilderness. In this case, the travel plan ignores the impact of increased volume of motorized and mechanized use on current users' ability to seek quiet and solitude in the study area. Because the Service failed to adequately explain how the 1977 wilderness character of the relevant study area has been maintained despite an increase in the volume of motorized and mechanized recreation in the area, its decision was arbitrary and capricious in violation of the APA.