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Federal court finds off-highway group's lawsuit over Santa Fe forest plan has no merit

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ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico — Conservation groups say a federal court has upheld a travel management plan for the Santa Fe National Forest that limits access for recreational use.

The U.S. District Court in Albuquerque ruled Friday that a statewide off-highway vehicle user group that sued the forest over the plan did not have a persuasive enough argument.

The New Mexico Off Highway Vehicle Alliance filed its lawsuit in 2012 after a forest supervisor signed off on the plan.

The group had argued in its complaint that the plan closes more than 70 percent of existing roads and trails on the northern New Mexico forest, significantly reduces camping options and makes it difficult for hunters to retrieve game.

Conservationists say the plan protects more than 400,000 acres of land and wildlife.

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