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Montana Wilderness Association v. United States Forest Service

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
655 F.2d 951 (1981), cert. denied, 455 U.S. 989 (1981)


Burlington Northern, Inc. (Burlington Northern) (defendant), owned land containing timber in Montana. This land was surrounded by national-forest land and had originally been acquired by the Northern Pacific Railroad pursuant to a federal grant of odd-numbered square sections of land in exchange for the construction of railroad tracks. The federal government retained the even-numbered parcels of land, which formed a checkerboard pattern in the area. Burlington Northern planned to construct an access road through the national-forest land and received a permit from the United States Forest Service (defendant) to do so. A neighboring property owner and a group of environmentalists (plaintiffs) sued Burlington Northern and the United States Forest Service to prevent construction of the road. The trial court granted summary judgment to the defendants. The plaintiffs appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which reversed the judgment of the trial court. The defendants moved the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit to reconsider based on new legislative history.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Norris, J.)

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