From the November 1998 Idaho Observer:


Citizens, Attorney, Commissioner Witness Forest Service Road Obliteration Preparation

Photos catch federal agency in defiance of federal court order

BONNERS FERRY_On the morning of October 23, 1998, five men who are attempting to protect the rights of citizens against the apparently lawless authority of the federal government, photographically recorded evidence that the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) was in obvious violation of a federal restraining order which enjoined it from physically altering the condition of Boundary Creek Road in any way pending a resolution of the matter in court.

Boundary County Commissioner Kevin Lederhos, Continental Mine properties shareholders Roland Hall, Adam Hall, Aaron Hall and Boundary County Attorney John Topp opened the USFS gate and proceeded up the disputed road 200 yards. There they discovered two unoccupied USFS pickup trucks parked at a wide point in the road. "The tailgates were down and ramps for four-wheelers were still on the tailgates just waiting for them to come back," commented Roland Hall.

In order to show Topp the proximity of the old, original trail to the current road, Roland Hall headed down the hill toward Boundary Creek. Although he missed intercepting the trail with his first attempt, Hall found something interesting. "I found a blue tarp stretched between two trees," said Hall who added that under the tarp "was an ax sheath, a sleeping bag, food, first aid kit, cooking equipment and maps."

Hall also noticed that there was no identification found with the equipment.

The men photographed the road, the trail, and the place where the two intersect. The men noticed that the USFS personnel has clearly marked the end of the trail with ribbons. The men took several photos of the USFS trucks.

The five men then backtracked, got into their own truck and traveled up Smith Creek over Saddle Pass and down to where Boundary Creek intersects with Saddle Pass Road at the Canadian border. Already concerned that the USFS was up to something that is not allowed under the restraining order, the men were shocked to find that the USFS had used a backhoe to dig up Boundary Creek Road about 100 yards below the Saddle Pass Road junction. "That was in direct defiance of the federal court order for all parties to not engage in any ground disturbing activities," said Roland Hall.

As the amazed party continued down the road to show Topp the washout area, they noticed more contemptable activity obviously being conducted by the USFS. "The Forest Service had 16 penny nails driven into the center of the road with bright orange plastic markers to indicate the center of the road. The FS has also cut brush along the road in places, probably for surveying the road," explained Hall.

The men also noticed that many numbered and lettered fluorescent pink ribbons hung from trees and brush along the road and that the USFS had placed stakes in cut banks in several places.

"The work that they had done shows that they intend to 'obliterate' the road, said Hall who explained that they mark the center of the road and use heavy equipment to throw everything from the downhill side of the line uphill.

Hall then made the comment that puts the whole ordeal into perspective and, perhaps foreshadows what will happen in the compromised court of Judge Lodge: "The Forest Service has been preparing to destroy the road even though the federal judge had a restraining order against all parties which forbade all of us from altering the road in any way."

"The sheer waste of money is staggering," said Hall. "The road could have been repaired many times over by now if the Forest Service had used the money wisely. But now we know that it has intended all along to destroy the road and it has never intended to repair it," Hall stated.

It is an incredible irony: The USFS is wasting millions of public dollars to obliterate one of the nation's most historic roads so that it can control (eliminate) same public's access to public land.