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Federal Land Use Issues - The Garden Law Firm, P.C.

Federal Land Use Issues

Your Government counsel.™

We assist our clients in protecting their use and enjoyment of federal lands, whether it be through comments on draft land management plans, appeals of decisions that were not favorable to their interests or lawsuits when the appeal process proved to be ineffective.

Whether you operate a business on, or simply recreate on federal lands, The Garden Law Firm can assist you in ensuring that your interests are heard and protected.

We have been involved with Forest Plans, Wilderness Stewardship Plans, NPS General Management Plans, Environmental Impact Statements and all types of decisions related to federal land areas and how they are managed.  We have detailed experience with the federal statutes which apply to land management issues and the often arcane policies that lie beneath them, including the Wilderness Act, the National Environmental Policy Act and the National Forest Management Act.

For example, we obtained a decision from the federal District Court in Washington, DC, overturning a determination by the US Forest Service related to the way it classified trails within the National Forest System.  In setting up the new classification system, the Forest Service had failed to obtain public comments before implementing the classification system and our client believed the new system would result in diminished recreational opportunities.  Back Country Horsemen of America v. Johanns, 424 F. Supp. 2d 89 (D.D.C. 2006).

We also successfully worked with the Forest Service in defending a claim that the operations of Forest Service concessioners pursuant to Special Use Authorizations were subject to the same requirements as the government itself, which would have severely hampered their ability to operate.  Bark v. United States Forest Service and National Forest Recreation Association, 2014 WL 1289446 (D.D.C. 2014).

Our clients include businesses, such as resorts, campgrounds, marinas, golf courses, outfitters and ski areas, as well as non-profit recreational groups, such as cabin owners and user groups.

Recreation Residences on National Forests

We provide legal counsel to clients who own cabins on national forests under the Recreation Residence program.  We also provide legal representation to National Forest Homeowners which is a member-direct organization representing cabin-owner recreation residence permittees on our national forests.  If you own a recreation residence on a national forest, please take a look at our Recreation Residence Manual designed specifically for you.

Easements and Rights of Access on Federal Lands

We also provide legal assistance in obtaining easements and rights of access over federal lands to clients who own inholdings or have operations on private lands which require access over adjacent federal lands.

Small Tracts Act Purchases

As part of our federal lands practice, we assist our clients who are seeking to acquire federal land through the Small Tracts Act.  The Small Tracts Act provides authority for federal agencies to sell small sections of federal land (10 acres or less) that are adjacent to or interspersed with private land on which a private party constructed an improvement without knowledge of it being on federal land.


We have been involved in issues with federal agencies nationwide, including all of the areas below:

Acadia National Park; Alcatraz Island; Bandelier National Monument; Blue Ridge Parkway; Buffalo National River; Cape Lookout National Seashore; Death Valley National Park; Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area; Denali National Park and Preserve; Dry Tortugas National Park; Everglades National Park; Fort McHenry National  Monument and Historic Shrine; Fort Sumter National Monument; Gateway National Recreation Area; George Washington Memorial Parkway; Glen Canyon National Recreation Area; Golden Gate National Recreation Area; Glacier National Park; Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve; Grand Canyon National Park; Grand Teton National Park; Gulf Islands National Seashore; Lake Mead National Recreation Area; Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area; Lassen Volcanic National Park; National Capital Region, National Park Service; National Mall and Memorial Parks; National Parks of New York Harbor; Olympic National Park; Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks; Statue of Liberty National Monument; Virgin Islands National Park; Yellowstone National Park; Yosemite National Park; White Sands National Monument; Wright Brothers National Monument; Angeles National Forest; Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests; Ashley National Forest; Bighorn National Forest; Carson National Forest; Chattahoochee National Forest; Cherokee National Forest; Chugach National Forest; Cleveland National Forest; Coronado National Forest; Custer Gallatin National Forest; Deschutes National Forest; Inyo National Forest; Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit; Los Padres National Forest; Mt. Hood National Forest; National Forests and Grasslands of Texas; Oconee National Forest; Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest; Pike National Forest; Pisgah National Forest; Sam Houston National Forest; San Bernardino National Forest; San Isabel National Forest; Santa Fe National Forest; Sequoia National Forest; Shasta-Trinity National Recreation Area; Shawnee National Forest; Shoshone National Forest; Sierra National Forest; Stanislaus National Forest; Tonto National Forest; Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest; Umatilla National Forest; White Mountain National Forest; White River National Forest; Willamette National Forest; William B. Bankhead National Forest

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