A Hilo Circuit Court judge is effectively dismissing a lawsuit filed by hunters challenging the state's plan to fence 12,000 acres of Big Island forest to protect native species.
The Hawaii Tribune-Herald reports the judge granted summary judgment in favor of the state Wednesday.
The order effectively dismisses the lawsuit filed by the Pele Defense Fund and four other plaintiffs in 2012.
Hunters oppose the Ka'u Forest Reserve Management Plan because it would reduce their hunting grounds.
Attorney James Dombroski says he expects to file an appeal either with the state Court of Appeals or directly with the state Supreme Court.
Department of Land and Natural Resources Chairman William Aila said in a statement the plan is meant to balance different needs, including cultural and recreational.