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Quiet reigns for Ferry County communities

Nov 20, 2008

Ruling in a suit brought by the Quiet Communities Coalition curtails off-highway vehicle (ORV) use on city streets and public right-of-ways in Ferry County.

Quiet reigns for Ferry County communities

Gated roads and trailheads used by hikers, equestrians, and hunters are threatened by illegal ORV use. Photo Derrick Knowles

In a victory for local communities and conservation groups in Ferry County who have been concerned about rampant off-roading, unlawful off-highway vehicle (ORV) use was put into check this week when a court granted a permanent injunction that prevents the county from implementing two ORV ordinances.

The Quiet Communities Coalition lodged the case arguing that the county’s ordinances violated state law, allowing off-highway and all-terrain vehicles on city streets and right-of-ways. The superior court judge further ruled that Ferry County must file an environmental impact statement prior to implementing new ORV ordinances.

Off-road vehicle use has grown dramatically in popularity over the last few decades, in eastern Washington as well as many places around the West. In addition to being a noisy and even dangerous nuisance to communities and animals alike, ORVs are also a source of noxious weeds invasion, hillside erosion, and plant and soil degradation: negative effects prompted former Forest Service Chief Dale Bosworth to deem off-highway vehicles one of the four major threats to national forests.

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