Tellico Now - Before There Is
Nothing Left To Save
On Thursday, May 22, 2008, The
Southern Four Wheel Drive Association (SFWDA) along with United Four
Wheel Drive Associations (UFWDA) and the BlueRibbon Coalition (BRC)
filed suit in US District Court Western District of North Carolina
against the US Forest Service to restore access to improperly closed
off-highway recreation trails located in the Upper Tellico Off-highway
Vehicle (OHV) Area in North Carolina.
June 28, 2007, Southern
Environmental Law Center (SELC) filed a "notice of intent to sue" the
USFS on behalf of the North Carolina and Tennessee Councils of Trout
Unlimited, as well as Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility
and the Southern Appalachian Biodiversity Project. SELC's threat
demanded that the Forest Service permanently close trails, and
seasonally close the entire system.
Caving under the pressure of SELC and TU, the Forest Service announced
on December 18, 2007 there would be a seasonal closure of the entire
trail system and Trails Lower 2, 7, and 9 would be closed for a year to
assess the condition of the trails to see what needs to be done.
Closing trails does not address the issues and SFWDA feels that the
Forest Service took steps that are not correct. This lawsuit is
intended to reopen the trails that were improperly closed.
SFWDA has worked with the US Forest Service in the Tellico OHV area for
over 20 years, providing free maintenance and restoration work to
address the agency-wide maintenance backlog estimated nationwide at
over $100 billion. The trail maintance, clean up, and volunteer work we
have donated to the area is well over $100,000 just in the past few
years. SFWDA values the relationship we have with the US Forest Service
and plan to continue the work, volunteering and cleaning up as we've
done in the past.
are the effects of the closures?
impact of closing the trails has
greatly wounded the economy in the area. Not only are there fewer
places to ride in the Upper Tellico area, but local businesses have
felt the impact. Cabin Rentals, Campgrounds, parts stores have all seen
a decrease in business. Outside of the impact to the economy, this act
sets a precedent for large special interest groups to bully our
government to preferentially close access to public land to one user
you can do
law suits are not cheap. We
need your donations. You can donate online at www.SFWDA.org
or Tax deductable at www.sharetrails.org/rescue-tellico
or donate tax deductable through the United Land Action Fund at P.O.
Box 15696, Chesapeake, VA 23328. You can purchase Rescue Tellico Items
All proceeds are donated to the Rescue Tellico Fund.
At the very least we need your membership. If you are not a member of
any or all the below mentioned groups we need you. Please join us so
that you can have your voice counted in unison with ours. If you have
always wondered, what does my membership get me, here is your answer.
SFWDA, UFWDA, and BRC are fighting to keep trails open so we have
places to ride.
Please spread the word. This is not only a 4x4 problem but ATV,
Motorcycle and UTV's are affected as well.
BlueRibbon Coalition is a
national recreation group that champions responsible use of public and
private lands, and encourages individual environmental stewardship. It
represents over 10,000 individual members and 1,200 organization and
business members, for a combined total of over 600,000 recreationists
nationwide. 1-800-258-3742. www.sharetrails.org
United Four Wheel Drive Associations is an international organization
comprised of four wheel drive enthusiasts, clubs, associations, and
businesses dedicated to providing community services around the world,
education in responsible land use and safe vehicle operation, and
protection of our natural resources through conservation practices.
Southern Four Wheel Drive Association (SFWDA) was founded in 1987 to
promote responsible land use and to keep public lands accessible for
motorized recreation. Since the formation of Southern Four Wheel Drive
Association, the focus and mission is to promote responsible land use
and to help keep public lands open for motorized recreation. For more
information on the activities and accomplishments of Southern Four
Wheel Drive Association, please visit www.sfwda.org
or contact us at 1483
N. Mt. Juliet Road, PMB # 222, Mt. Juliet, TN 37122.