Heartwood and Kentucky Heartwood sued the Forest Service in federal court in Lexington, seeking to stop the proposed logging. The lawsuit said logging would damage the environment and harm wildlife and endangered species in the 700,000-acre Daniel Boone National Forest in eastern Kentucky.
"These grassroots groups have exhausted all of the avenues made to them by the Forest Service, to no avail," said lawyer Joe Childers, who sued Wednesday. "Their members decided to bring this lawsuit to protect a public resource that is highly valued by the vast majority of Kentuckians."
Marie Walker, a Forest Service spokeswoman, said Friday that the agency had not seen the suit and had no comment.
The two unaffiliated groups allege that a 2004 plan that guides the management of the forest would violate the Endangered Species Act by harming the Indiana bat, Virginia big-eared bat, bald eagle, running buffalo clover and Eggert's sunflowers. The 2004 plan called for more logging than has been seen in the previous decade, but not a return to the levels of the 1980s.
Under the plan, the Forest Service intends to log more than 12,500 acres, or about 20 square miles, scattered across the northern end of the forest. The agency says the logging is needed to repair damage from a February 2003 ice storm.