BOISE, Idaho – The Department of Justice and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management announced today – Dec. 28, 2012 – a settlement of the United States’ federal court lawsuit against Custer County and the State of Idaho concerning county action on roads and trails on federal land in Custer County. The Environment and Natural Resources Division of the Department of Justice initially filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Idaho to halt the county’s threatened actions to reopen a section of the Herd Creek Road that adjoins the Jerry Peak Wilderness Study Area, which section BLM had closed in 1999. After the Honorable B. Lynn Winmill, Chief District Judge for the U.S. District Court for the District of Idaho, issued an order temporarily restraining the county from taking any action to reopen the road without BLM's approval, the parties reached an agreement to resolve the dispute.
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.
“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.”
“I commend the cooperation shown by Custer County and our federal land management agencies in reaching this settlement,” said Wendy J. Olson, U.S. Attorney for Idaho. “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.”