Two years after a federal judge ordered the Forest Service to remove outfitter structures from the Frank Church/River of No Return Wilderness in central Idaho, the agency has been hit with a motion for contempt of court. Filed recently by Wilderness Watch in Montana, the suit contends the agency has been lax in forcing outfitters to remove horse corrals extending across creeks, permanent camps, wooden buildings and garbage.


Outfitters have had fixed camps in the 2.4-million-acre wilderness area since 1945, but in 1993 Judge Thomas Hogan ruled that the Forest Service had to remove all permanent structures (HCN, 2/7/94). Wilderness Watch, which brought that suit, inspected 56 of the Frank's 89 campsites last summer.


"There were just as many permanent facilities out there in "94 as there had been before," says Wilderness Watch president William Worf. Gerald Fish, a Justice Department attorney, says the Forest Service has made "reasonable progress." Serious fires during the summer of 1994 sapped the Forest Service's resources, he says, preventing it from inspecting many of the remote campsites.


* Ray Stout