Park Service Sued Over ATV Use in Wrangell-St. Elias
There aren't too many national parks that allow ATV use within their borders, and even those that do typically have pretty tight requirements that outline where these machines can go.
Well, it seems that ATV use in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park in Alaska has gotten a bit out of control. So out of control, in fact, that some environmental groups are suing the Park Service to get the machines under control.
Filing the lawsuit were the National Parks Conservation Association, The Wilderness Society, and the Alaska Center for the Environment.
"It is obvious when you're out in the park that the ATV riding is posing irreversible threats - scars on the land from ATV trails are several hundred yards wide in some places," says NPCA Alaska Regional Director Jim Stratton.
It's OK to ride ATVs in Wrangell-St. Elias, as long as the vehicles remain on ATV-designated park trails. From the picture above, it doesn't appear that that's been happening.
In their lawsuit, the three environmental groups contend that park officials have not been providing the necessary oversight to ensure that ATV use does not damage the park.
"The National Park Service has ignored existing laws and regulations designed to protect park resources and values for present and future generations," said Mike Steeves, the plaintiffs' attorney from Anchorage-based public interest environmental law firm, Trustees for Alaska. "We filed this lawsuit to prevent further damage and to compel the Park Service to manage the park responsibly."
The impacted trails in Wrangells are - Suslota Lake, Tanada Lake, Caribou Creek, Lost Lake, Trail Creek, Reeve Field, Bommerang Lake, Soda Lake, and Copper Lake.