BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) - Conservationists and backcountry horse riders are seeking to block motorized vehicle use in much of southern Montana's Pryor Mountains, a popular destination for off-road vehicle users. A lawsuit filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Missoula challenges the U.S. Forest Service travel plan for the 125-square mile mountain range about 50 miles south of Billings.
The suit charges the Forest Service is allowing the Pryors to become a "sacrifice zone" for ATVs, motorcycles and four-wheel drive vehicles. It says only 1 percent of trails are set aside just for non-motorized users such as hikers and horse riders. The lead plaintiff in the case is the Pryors Coalition, made up of the Yellowstone Valley Audubon Society, Wildlands CPR, Beartooth Backcountry Horsemen and several other groups.