DENVER (LAWFUEL) – The United States of America, through the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Colorado, in conjunction with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), announced that Adventure Cycling Association (ACA) will pay the United States $27,500 to settle issues pertaining to the ACA’s failure to obtain a special use authorization and pay permit fees to access federal government property. The agreement was entered into by all parties without the formal lodging of a complaint with the court.
One of the responsibilities of the BLM and USFS is to implement a permit and fee program that supports the recreational use of public lands, including management of the natural resource, rehabilitation, and improvement. Both agencies require that an individual or group submit an application and other specific documentation, detailing the public lands that will be used, as well as pay a fee in order to be issued the proper permit. All applications must be approved prior to accessing the designated public areas.
Adventure Cycling Association (ACA), is a non-profit organization headquartered in Missoula, Montana. The organization provides approximately 44,000 due-paying members and other individuals with travel gear, cycling maps and publications that promote cycling within the United States. ACA also sponsors and leads guided bicycle tours and instructional courses.
According to the Settlement Agreement, the United States alleges that ACA failed to obtain various special use permits from the BLM and USFS for ACA-led bicycle tours in the State of Colorado between 2002 through 2007. As a result, ACA failed to pay special use permit fees, as required by both the BLM and USFS. The ACA will therefore pay $27,500 to settle this claim.
“Protecting our nation’s natural resources is an important part of the job of the United States Attorney’s Office,” said Acting U.S. Attorney David Gaouette. “Settlements like this acknowledge the need for an appropriate permit and fee system to ensure that the great beauty and majesty of Colorado’s public lands can be maintained for all those who wish to use them.”
“This settlement sends an important message to groups operating on National Forest Service and other federal lands regarding the need to obtain the proper authorization prior to conducting any trip,” said Maribeth Gustafson, Deputy Regional Forester of the Rocky Mountain Region of the Forest Service.
“The BLM issues Special Recreation Permits (SRPs) to protect resources, ensure public health and safety, and address user conflicts,” said BLM Colorado Associate Director Dave Hunsaker. “Enforcing SRPs is an important part of ensuring that everyone is treated fairly when they visit their public lands.”
This agreement should not be construed as an admission of liability, wrongdoing, or guilt on the part of ACA.
This case was handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Amanda Rocque. Acting U.S. Attorney David Gaouette would like to thank the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service for their hard work on this case.