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Protecting Southern California's National Forests

Case Overview

This case challenged the Forest Service's legally flawed process for approving revisions to forest plans for four southern California national forests (Cleveland, Angeles, San Bernardino, and Los Padres) as violating the National Environmental Policy Act. Totaling approximately 3.5 million acres, the southern California forests extend from Big Sur in the north to the Mexican border, are an internationally recognized important region for biodiversity, and serve as immensely popular recreational destinations for millions of Californians. The revised plans were sharply skewed towards allowing more environmentally damaging activities on the forests, in particular recreation such as off-road vehicle use, while at the same time the plans failed to set aside and protect sensitive areas and species' habitat. The plans also opened up vast roadless areas to future development and activities that would prevent the areas from being designated wilderness in the future. 

In September 2009, a federal district judge ruled that the plan did not adequately protect those forests' wildest landscapes.

Earthjustice represented conservationists.

Case Updates

October 1, 2009 | Legal Document

Southern California Forests Decision (9/29/09)

Court says U.S. Forest Service management plans for four Southern California national forests did not adequately protect those forests' wildest landscapes.

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