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Lawsuit allowing e-bikes in Tahoe National Forest settled

Published February 9, 2022

SACRAMENTO (BRAIN) — The group of trail and forest advocates settled its federal lawsuit filed in 2019 against the U.S. Forest Service, whom it said allowed Class 1 e-bikes on non-motorized trails in the Tahoe National Forest without conducting a public study.

The Order of Dismissal was signed by the Department of Justice on March 31, 2020. Since then, the Tahoe National Forest included about 32 miles of trails in question into an existing assessment study — the East Zone Connect Project — that the USFS approved for Class 1 e-bike use in December 2020. 

The Back Country Horsemen of America, one of the plaintiffs, participated in the process.

“We were pleased to find that the Forest Service checked all the necessary boxes in its examination of its proposal to allow Class 1 e-bike use on otherwise non-motorized trails,” said Randy Rasmussen, director of public lands and recreation for the Back Country Horsemen of America. “We did not object to, nor litigate, the outcome of the East Zone Connect Project.” 

According to the lawsuit, before opening non-motorized trails to e-bike use, the Tahoe National Forest should have had a public study that includes analysis under the National Environmental Policy Act to assess the impact of the decision.

Other plaintiffs included the Backcountry Horsemen of California, The Wilderness Society, the Gold Country Trails Council, and the Forest Issues Group. 

“To be clear, on the e-bike topic, the BCHA has always been about process, meaning that the public needs to be involved in federal agency decisions regarding where, and under what circumstances, e-bikes are allowed on existing trails enjoyed by the public,” Rasmussen said. 

Topics associated with this article: Electric bike, Lawsuits/legal

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