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SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA / A news summary

Judge Lets Complaint Stand Against Biker

November 28, 2000

LOS ANGELES — A federal judge on Monday refused to dismiss a misdemeanor complaint against a mountain biker who has repeatedly refused to pay a fee to ride the trails of the Los Padres National Forest.

Terry Dahl is a member of a group called Free our Forests, which contends that the $5-a-day fee--$30 for an annual pass--is unconstitutional.

At a court hearing Monday, Dahl's lawyer said the Forest Service had a policy of not citing people who entered the land without paying if they were engaged in lawful protests.

Attorney Greg Reeden of San Diego said Dahl carried fliers protesting the user fees whenever he biked the national forest trials.

But Assistant U.S. Atty. Sharon McCaslin contended that Dahl's primary purpose was recreation.

U.S. District Judge Christina A. Snyder said the dispute would have to be resolved at a trial set for Jan. 9.

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