A Sacramento federal judge has ruled that the U.S. Forest Service failed in its management of trails for off-road vehicles in the Stanislaus National Forest.
U.S. District Judge Kimberly J. Mueller found that a travel management plan violates federal law because it fails to minimize damage to the environment caused by off-road vehicles. She ordered a Feb. 15 hearing.
Conservation groups in 2010 sued to stop Forest Service approval of 137 miles of off-road vehicle routes, contending that serious environmental harm would result.
Mueller did not order the closing of any off-road trails but is preparing to resolve the Forest Service's unlawful conduct.
The Stanislaus National Forest covers more than 898,000 acres in the northern Sierra. It is primarily in Tuolumne County, but parts extend into Alpine, Mariposa and Calaveras counties.
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