BANGOR (AP) – A federal magistrate has moved to dismiss a lawsuit challenging a state law that calls for maintaining 11 motor vehicle access points along the Allagash Wilderness Waterway.

In their lawsuit, Charles Fitzgerald of Atkinson and Kenneth Kline of Bar Harbor contended the state law conflicts with the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, a federal law under which the Allagash was designated a wild river area in 1970.

The U.S. Department of the Interior limited motor vehicle access points to just two places when the 92-mile waterway was named a wild river area.

But Magistrate Judge Margaret Kravchuk wrote Monday that state officials have the right to set management policies for the waterway because it’s owned and operated by the state, not the federal government. The state already made permanent six bridges that had been temporary before the Legislature mandated the 11 motor vehicle access points, she noted.

“It certainly seems apparent that the Allagash is no longer ‘a wild, scenic river, generally inaccessible except by trail,’ if it ever was such a river, as it now has eleven motor vehicle access points and six permanent watercourse crossings,” she wrote.

If federal officials disagree with the state’s management of the waterway, they can either recommend changes to the state or opt to remove the Allagash from the wild and scenic river system, she said.

U.S. District Judge John Woodcock now will consider Kravchuk’s recommendation as well as any responses from both sides.


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