SONORA — At least 11 groups have appealed new rules on motorized travel that were to take effect Tuesday in the Stanislaus National Forest.
Environmentalists, four-wheel-drive enthusiasts and other parties challenged the rules, which Forest Supervisor Susan Skalski approved Nov. 12.
The rules will be delayed while the appeals are considered by Regional Forester Randy Moore, who oversees national forests in California. He can accept, reject or modify Skalski's decision.
That could take until early March, said Jerry Snyder, spokesman for the Stanislaus National Forest.
The rules would ban travel off designated roads and trails, as required by a 2005 federal law.
They also would add 137 miles of previously illegal routes, such as trails carved by dirt bikers, to the 2,279 miles of roads and trails where travel is legal.
Environmentalists have said the rules would put wildlife habitat at risk and allow noisy vehicles in places where they do not belong.
Critics on the other side contend that the rules would make too much of the forest off-limits to vehicles.
Tuesday was the deadline for appeals. As of early afternoon, 11 had been filed, Snyder said.