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America Outdoors E-Bulletin
October 3, 2005


 
Contents:
Court Ruling to Impede Issuance of Forest Service Special Use Permits Speeding and No Seat Belt Use Cited in 15 Passenger Van Accident
Evergreen Insurance to Provide 20% Credits for Qualified AO Members Forest Service Announces Roadless Area Conservation Advisory Committee
Register for Confluence in Reno

Court Ruling to Impede Issuance of Forest Service Special Use Permits
  A recent decision by the Federal District Court for the Eastern District of California will require the Forest Service to file notice and take comments and appeals before issuing categorical exclusions (CE's) for special use permits. CE's allowed the agency to avoid detailed environmental analyses under NEPA when there were no changes in the permitted activity. Any permits issued under CE's after July 7, 2005 will be suspended until the notice and comment can be issued.

According to a Forest Service official in the Washington office, the agency will be forced to issue Federal Register notices, take comments and develop an appeals process for all CE's related to any special use permit for the time being. This process is expected to add a minimum of four months to the permitting process if the CE is not appealed. Along with the suit filed against the Forest Service by Wilderness Watch over outfitter permits in the Sierra's, this Court ruling will greatly increase the costs and raise new impediments to issuing any special use permit.

Chief of the Forest Service Dale Bosworth recently advised Regional Foresters:

"We are actively pursuing options in light of this nationwide ruling, including working with the Department of Justice to seek a stay of the ruling pending appeal. In the meantime, the following steps must be taken immediately, pursuant to the Court's orders of July 7, 2005, and September 16, 2005. For projects and activities implementing land and resource management plans for which the final decision was made after July 7, 2005, Line Officers will ensure that all categorically excluded proposed actions are subject to the notice, comment and appeal provisions of 36 CFR Part 215 that were not invalidated by the court. The project or activity should be suspended until this process has been completed."

The Court ruling came in the case Earth Island Institute v. Ruthenbeck et al (Forest Service employees) over a timber sale in California. Several other environmental groups participated in the suit.
   
Speeding and No Seat Belt Use Cited in 15 Passenger Van Accident
  None of the occupants of the 15-passenger Utah State University van which crashed into a ravine in Utah killing nine were wearing seat belts. The van was traveling at speeds up to 100 miles per hour, according to the Salt Lake Tribune who cited state investigators. All 11 occupants were ejected and nine were killed. Two remain critically injured.
   
Evergreen Insurance to Provide 20% Credits for Qualified AO Members
  Evergreen Insurance is now writing liability insurance for outfitters to include canoe rental, whitewater operations, guides and outfitters, and sporting camps. Evergreen has found that they are competitively priced in writing guides, outfitters, sporting camps and whitewater operations on Class III and below rivers. They do write coverage for Class IV & V rivers but due to their limited experience in this area they may not be as competitively priced. Lucas Hartford of Evergreen said they hope to become more competitive as their experience with the industry grows. Qualified America Outdoors members may receive a 20% underwriting credit on their rates! Evergreen USA, RRG, Inc. has provided insurance to the outdoor recreation industry for almost two decades and in the past year has expanded their client base from 1,500 campgrounds and RV parks to now providing secure coverage for other areas of the outdoor recreation industry. Evergreen can be reached at 1-800-343-7900.
 
Forest Service Announces Roadless Area Conservation Advisory Committee
  Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns recently announced the selection of members to the Roadless Area Conservation National Advisory Committee. No one in the outfitting community or human-powered recreation community appear to be among the advisors. This committee will provide advice and recommendations on implementing the state petitions for the Inventoried Roadless Area Management Rule adopted by USDA in May of 2005.

Members of the committee will review petitions submitted by states, seek consensus, identify issues, and provide the Secretary or the Secretary's designee with advice and recommendations on implementing the State Petitions Rule. The committee membership is geographically diverse, with members from ten states and the District of Columbia.

Members of the committee include: Darin Bird, representing state-elected officials; Robert Cope, representing locally-elected officials; Adena Cook and Geraldine Link, representing developed recreation organizations; Jeff Eisenberg, James Riley, and Gregory Schaefer, representing commercial interest organizations; Denny Scott representing organized labor organizations; and Paul Hansen, Dale Harris, Todd Schulke, Howard Vaughan, and Chris Wood representing environmental organizations.
The Federal Advisory Committee Act establishes a framework for the public to provide recommendations, advice, ideas, and diverse opinions to the Federal Government. The Act also stipulates the members of an advisory committee should represent different opinions and viewpoints.

The State Petitions Rule established a process to provide Governors an opportunity to establish or adjust management requirements for National Forest System inventoried roadless areas within their states. USDA will accept state petitions until November 13, 2006.
 
Register for Confluence in Reno
  Confluence registrations are running ahead of the last two years; so we are looking for a fantastic meeting. Register online and check out the agenda. Click here to register online. Confluence programming begins on November 30 and ends with an optional seminar on December 3rd.

Southwest Airlines, 800-435-9792, flies into Reno for those of you near a Southwest Terminal. If Southwest is not available in your area use Sidestep http://www.sidestep.com. For hotel reservations call the Silver Legacy at 800-687-8733. Use the code Ameri to get the special AO rate. 
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