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Environmental groups whose lawsuit failed to prevent the U.S. Forest Service from building a trail for off-road vehicles at Coos County's Riley Ranch have decided not to appeal, one of their attorneys said Tuesday.

But before they break ground, county officials will wait a full 60 days after the July 27 ruling in case the groups change their minds.

Susan Brown of the Western Environmental Law Center in Eugene said that the groups -- Umpqua Watersheds, Cascadia Wildlands, Center for Biological Diversity, Oregon Wild and Wildlands CPR -- will not pursue an appeal.

Coos County Parks and Recreation Director Larry Robison said this morning his department hopes to break ground on the new project by the first of the year.

'We hope to have it open by Memorial Day Weekend," he said.

The proposed trail connects the Riley Ranch campground with the open sand via a route across U.S. Forest Service land and a county-owned parcel.

Robison said that the next steps are to obtain easements from the Forest Service to cross its land and from the International Port of Coos Bay to cross the railroad tracks.

The county soon will release Requests for Proposals for design and construction of a bridge that is part of the project.

County employees will construct the road, and contractors will manufacture and install the bridge.

Reporter Gail Elber can be reached at 541-269-1222, ext. 234; or at gelber@theworldlink.com.

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