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Idaho Miners Sue for Back Country Access

Benito Baeza

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Several Idaho mining claim owners have sued the federal government, joining a push to expand motorized access in the West’s backcountry using a Civil War-era law governing travel across public lands. The lawsuit, filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Boise, argues the U.S. Forest Service illegally restricted use of four roads in Idaho County.

It’s similar to Utah lawsuits that were partially resolved this year when the federal government unlocked three gates, allowed all-terrain vehicles into the state’s western desert. The Idaho County case was brought by 13 people with mining claims reached via roads extending deep into the Nez Perce National Forest.

The lawsuit contends federal Forest Service officials outstripped their authority by barring motorized access on roads used for more than a century for mining and recreation.

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