NPS Settles Suit and Curbs ORV Use in Big Cypress National Preserve

Today, we entered into a settlement agreement with the National Park Service (“NPS”) on behalf of the Center for Biological Diversity, Sierra Club, WildEarth Guardians, and South Florida Wildlands Association, in which NPS agreed to close all secondary off-road vehicle (“ORV”) trails in the Turner River Unit and the Corn Dance Unit of Florida’s Big Cypress National Preserve.  The coalition of conservation organizations brought suit in 2013 after NPS opened more than 100 miles of secondary trails without conducting any analysis under the National Environmental Policy Act, the NPS Organic Act, the Endangered Species Act, or other federal environmental laws.  After the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida ruled that NPS could not avoid judicial review of its legal violations merely by starting a belated environmental review process while ORV use continued to destroy the Preserve’s sensitive natural resources, NPS agreed to settle the lawsuit without further court intervention by closing the unlawfully opened trails.  A press release on the settlement can be found here: http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/news/press_releases/2014/big-cypress-09-22-2014.html