For Immediate Release
Karen Schambach, Center for Sierra Nevada Conservation, (530) 305-0503
Lisa Belenky, Center for Biological Diversity, (415) 385-5694
Forest Service Withdraws Five-Year Permit for Off-Road 'Enduro' Races
GEORGETOWN, Calif. - The Eldorado National Forest has withdrawn its approval of a
five-year special event permit for dirt bike "enduro" races in the Rock
Creek Recreational Trails Area in response to an appeal by the Center
for Sierra Nevada Conservation and the Center for Biological Diversity.
Advocates for quiet recreation, clean water, and wildlife habitat
challenged the permit for failing to provide adequate environmental
review of impacts to soil, water and air quality, riparian habitats,
and imperiled species, including the California red-legged frog and
western pond turtle.
"The Forest Service cannot
continue to ignore the significant impacts off-road vehicle events have
on the forest - tearing up soils, damaging creek banks and beds, and
polluting the air," said Lisa Belenky, a senior attorney with the
Center for Biological Diversity. "Soils loosened by these events wash
into creeks and rivers as soon as rain comes, reducing water quality
for downstream users and hurting important riparian and aquatic habitat
for many species."
"Everyone has a right to enjoy
our forests," said Karen Schambach, president of Center for Sierra
Nevada Conservation. "But nobody has the right to destroy them. These
races are a commercial boon to the off-road industry at the expense of
California's clean water and healthy forests. An Enduro in this same
location just a few weeks ago, at the peak of fire season, put not just
the forest but our community at risk."
outdoor recreation, in particular off-road vehicle use, was identified
by former Forest Service Chief Dale Bosworth in 2005 as one of the four
principle threats to our national forests. While at the policy level
the Forest Service has recognized the potential great harm vehicles can
cause to the national forests and the plants and wildlife found in
them, forest managers have largely failed to take seriously the need to
minimize these impacts to our public lands.
More information on the California red-legged frog and Western pond turtle can be found here.
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The Center for Biological Diversity is a nonprofit conservation organization with more than 240,000 members and online activists dedicated to protecting endangered species and wild places. www.biologicaldiversity.org
The Center for Sierra Nevada Conservation is a grassroots organization dedicated to the protection of ecosystem values and the long-term sustainability of our natural resources for future generations. www.sierraconservation.org