The U.S. Forest Service expects to proceed as planned on construction of a trail between Redfish Lake and Stanley, following a U.S. District Court judge’s denial of a request for a preliminary injunction against the project.
The 4.4-mile-long trail would be open to nonmotorized traffic in the summer and snow machines in the winter. The 6.5-foot-wide path would comply with Forest Service guidelines for accessibility by handicapped people.
It would cross over about 1.5 miles of the Sawtooth Mountain Ranch just south of Stanley.
In April, ranch owner David Boren and his wife, Lynn Arnone, residents of Boise, filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Boise seeking to have the project decision voided. The suit acknowledges that the U.S. Forest Service holds the right to build a trail under a conservation easement granted by a previous owner, but claims that the proposed trail deviates from the location granted in the easement. It also objects to the size and extent of development of the trail, claiming it is inconsistent with the type of primitive trail common on the SNRA.
A motion for preliminary injunction was heard in federal District Court on June 3, and denied in a ruling filed June 13.
Judge Candy Dale ruled that as a claim contesting the scope of an easement held by the federal government, the suit must be brought under the federal Quiet Title Act, which precludes preliminary injunctive relief.
In an interview, Sawtooth National Forest landscape architect Matt Phillips, who is managing the project, said the forest has not yet received a construction schedule from the contractor hired to do the project, but it is expected to be finished by this fall.
The plaintiffs’ Boise attorney, Paul Turcke, could not be reached by press deadline Tuesday for information on whether his clients intend to continue to pursue their case.