Groups sue federal agencies over Scratchgravel Hills plan

Two conservation groups have filed a lawsuit against the federal government over a recreation management plan for the Scratchgravel Hills Special Recreation Management Area northwest of Helena, saying the creation of 35 miles of mountain bike trails was done without analyzing the impacts on other trail users.

The suit was filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Butte by the nonprofit groups Alliance for the Wild Rockies and the Native Ecosystems Council.

Defendants include U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Director Tracy Stone-Manning and BLM Director Sonya Germann.

A mountain biker rides a trail in the Scratchgravel Hills Recreation Area.

THOM BRIDGE, Independent Record

The BLM declined comment Tuesday, noting it does not speak on pending litigation.

The suit, which seeks declaratory and injunctive relief, notes the Scratchgravel Plan makes decisions for about 5,500 acres of BLM-managed land about five miles from Helena.

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The BLM said the plan for the Special Recreation Management Area was signed March 9 and includes provisions for specific nonmotorized recreation activities;

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