I will try to answer your questions and provide you some new information I have just learned.
First, the hearing is to debate a summary judgement request SFWDA has made to the Court to decide if the FS acted properly, met all the requirements of the notice of no significant impact under the NEPA law. Both the Government, Intervenors and SFWDA have filed briefs with the Federal Court. You can read those on the SFWDA website SFWDA.org.
Second, if the Judge decides in our favor what do we win? This is a good question and one not easily answered. the Judge can do almost anything he wants in this situation. The most likely outcome would be a second "hearing" , if you will, to decide the remedy. Obviously, we are asking for the OHV system to be reopened. However, due to the FS actions to obliterate the trails this option does not exist (some believe this was the motive so an immediate reopening order could not be issued). Hence, there must be some design, construction etc. to reopen the OHV system. Also, money must be made available to do this and since we are dealing with Federal property procurement procedures must be followed as well as environmental permits, rules etc. You get the picture why a second hearing may be required.
Third, the hearing will be held at 2 PM in Courtroom 50 Main Street, Bryson City, NC 28713 before Judge Martin Reidinger. You can view the calendar here http://www.ncwd.uscourts.gov/Calendar/Court.aspx
. This is your money at work (your tax dollars supporting the FS and your after tax goodwill contributions to SFWDA, BRC, UFWDA). It is a public process. You are welcome to attend and encouraged to attend. It is fine to wear identifying attire that you are a supporter of off road driving (i.e club logos). Remember, you must be respectful of the Court and the process. You will not be allowed to speak during the proceedings. Just your presence in the court room will be enough. It will give you an opportunity to see our system at work. It is very important that we do not do anything that will reflect badly on our sport. I think it will be a testament to our resolve and perseverance to have as many of us as can participate to be there in person.
Fourth, Please be reminded that it is very unlikely that a decision will be rendered on August 23rd. You will most likely be disappointed if you attend expecting to hear a decision. The decision will usually take 30 to 90 days. It may be in our best interest that the Judge take his time to consider everything in the case. Also, remember that any decision can be appealed by the opposing side.
Fifth, please re-post this information on other 4x4 boards and forums to help spread the word.
I look forward to seeing you on the 23rd in Bryson City, NC.
Thank you for your support.
SFWDA Director Land Use and Conservation.
P.S. We also recommend that we all spend a few extra minutes on our knees praying for our legal team, the judge and a favorable outcome for our sport.