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FRIENDS FILES INTENT TO SUE VOYAGEURS PARK

Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness , BWCA Wilderness E-Update #72 , January 3, 2002

The Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness joined 10 other organizations in filing a notice of intent to sue Voyageurs National Park (VNP) for its decision to open 11 bays to snowmobiling.  The notice does not, however, obligate the Friends to later join a similar suit. 

The bays were closed in 1992 to snowmobiles to protect the gray wolf, a listed species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  The closure was based on biological information demonstrating adverse impact on wolves.  The closure was upheld by a 1997 decision by the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. 

On Nov. 28, 2001 , VNP announced the re-opening of the 11 bays based on a new study of the impact of snowmobiling on wolves; the study has not been published.  VNP made its decision despite a requirement under federal law that the agency first consult the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which oversees protection of the wolf.

The Friends supports the intent to sue for the following reasons: 1) to hold VNP accountable for its failure to consult the Fish and Wildlife Service, which is mandatory under federal law; and 2) to prevent the “taking” of, or harm to, wolves in the area.

The notice of intent to sue was filed Dec. 21.  No suit may be filed prior to Feb. 21.

 

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