Court Rejects NPS's Attempt To Open Destructive ORV Trails In Big Cypress

Yesterday, a federal district court ruled that the National Park Service ("NPS") and Fish and Wildlife Service violated several environmental laws (NEPA, ESA, and the Park Service Organic Act, among others) when NPS opened sensitive areas of the Bear Island Unit of the Big Cypress National Preserve to off-road vehicle use that the same agency had expressly forbidden seven years earlier.  Because the agencies provided no coherent explanation for changing their course of action to allow ORV use in these areas, which the agencies anticipated would adversely affect water, vegetation, and federally protected wildlife, the court set aside the decision and thus closed all of these trails to ORV use within 14 days.  The decision can be found here.