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Custer County road lawsuit settled

Custer County and federal officials have reached an agreement resolving long standing disagreements over management of roads and trails.

The Department of Justice and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management announced settlement of the United States’ federal court lawsuit against the county. The Environment and Natural Resources Division of the Department of Justice initially filed suit in U.S. District Court to halt the county’s threatened actions to reopen a section of the Herd Creek Road that adjoins the Jerry Peak Wilderness Study Area. The Bureau of Land Management had closed that section of road in 1999.

The parties reached a settlement resolving the dispute after Chief District Judge B. Lynn Winmill issued an order temporarily restraining the county from taking any action to reopen the road without BLM’s approval.

According to U.S. Attorney Wendy Olson, under the terms of the agreement, Custer County has agreed to refrain from any on-the-ground action affecting roads and trails on federal land without the agreement of federal land management agencies or prior court approval. The County further agrees it will not interfere with any federal employees or agents in the lawful commission of their official activities. In return, the United States agrees to dismiss the lawsuit.

Olson commended the cooperative agreement, adding, “under this settlement, the BLM and the Forest Service can continue to manage and protect our public resources in a way that benefits all Idahoans, indeed the entire country.”

“I am pleased that Custer County has agreed to work together with federal land managers to avoid disputes over the management of federal lands, including public lands managed by the Challis Field Office of the Bureau of Land Management and lands managed by the U.S. Forest Service,” said Ignacia Moreno, Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. “This settlement furthers both the BLM’s and Forest Service’s mission to address important interests on federal lands, including protecting public health and safety, wilderness values, and the environment.”

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