Court victory over Bush forest planning rules causes halt in Shoshone National Forest plan

The March 30 court victory settting aside Bush’s new forest planning rules, which trivialized forest plans, and excluded them from full environmental analysis, has caused a temporary halt in the progress of the Shoshone National Forest Plan in Wyoming. The Shoshone is one of America’s most prized national forests for scenery and wilderness.

Planning on the adjacent Bridger-Teton National Forest continues.

The court decision, Defenders of Wildlife, et. al. v. Johanns, which came on a summary judgment, has thrown confusion into the agency, and each forest is too some degree deciding how to procede.

One particularly significant part of the opinion, the judge wrote, “Additionally, because the 2005 Rule may significantly affect the quality of the human environment under NEPA, and because it may affect listed species and their habitat under ESA, the agency must conduct further analysis and evaluation of the impact of the 2005 Rule in accordance with those statutes.” This might provide some additional protection on the Shoshone and other forests for endangered species. However, the judge did not address the content of the new rules, only the flawed procedure by which they were promulgated.

Shoshone National Forest in the Absaroka/Beartooth Wilderness. Photo from Clay Butte Northward toward Montana on the skyline. Photo Copyright Ralph Maughan

Here is the story in the Casper Star Tribune, Ruling halts forest planning [on the Shoshone NF]. By Whitney Royster, Star-Tribune environmental reporter with wire reports.







  1. MikeH Avatar

    That is some spectacular country. I really enjoy the Beartooths.

  2. Bob Caesar Avatar
    Bob Caesar

    Same probably holds true for the Bridger Teton NF. We were making good progress on holding back the travel plan and the motor heads. Hope it doesn’t start again from square one…?!

  3. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    Good luck, Bob!

    I hope folks will help those who live in the Jackson, Kelly, Wilson, Hoback areas hold back the tidal wave of motorized contraptions and get involved in the Bridger-Teton Forest Plan.


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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Ralph Maughan