Winter Travel Management

Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit

A Balanced Approach

In today's political climate, a balanced approach to how our public lands are managed would be a welcome relief. The Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit (LTBMU) of the United States Forest service has an opportunity to adopt a balanced approach to winter recreation in one of the most beautiful and popular places for winter recreation in the United States: Lake Tahoe. We hope they take this opportunity to be fair to both the non-motorized and motorized winter visitors. We are concerned they will miss the chance to create appropriate and accessible places for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, snow-playing, and winter hiking while designating places large enough to accommodate snowmobile use.

Winter recreation on public lands should be a balance of opportunities for varying types of recreation, including non-motorized and motorized recreation. The Proposed Action by the LTBMU does not allow for that balance.

Our opportunities for quality winter recreation are severely threatened right now in a proposal to change where snowmobiles are allowed in the Lake Tahoe Basin. The Proposed Action allows snowmobiles where children snow-play and sled, threatens the public safety for snowshoers, cross-country skiers, and snowboarders along the Mt Rose corridor, and crams snowmobile riders into a place too small for appropriate use.

The Problem

The Proposed Action does not reflect the needs of the non-motorized community nor the motorized users and has failed to address any of our requests over the years to mitigate the problems of safety and appropriateness of uses in the Lake Tahoe Basin.

The SOLUTION is to look at the Lake Tahoe Basin in 4 regions.
These 4 areas minimize conflicts between users.

North Quadrant: Non-motorized: The lands between Hwy 50, Spooner, and Hwy 267, Brockway, including the Mt. Rose Hwy corridor, Hwy 431, are non-motorized in winter. This area is known as the North Quadrant. Allows for non-motorized ski grooming.

West Quadrant: Motorized use: North of McKinney Rubicon Creek Road to Hwy 267, Brockway. Includes small areas of non-motorized designation.

South Quadrant: A variety of uses: South of Hwy 207, Kingsbury Grade, to McKinney Rubicon Creek Road.

East Quadrant: Motorized: The area south of Hwy 50 and North of Kingsbury Grade, Hwy 207. Allows for OSV grooming.

By law, the Forest Service must work to minimize conflicts between users, work to ensure public safety, and protect natural resources and wildlife.

Action Needed

Please write or email the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit of the United States Forest Service, the LTBMU. Tell them you support a non-motorized North Quadrant and motorized East and West Quadrants as described above. You will need to be specific about these areas because the Forest Service describes these 4 quadrants differently.


Please tell the Forest Service what changes you would like to see in their Winter Recreation Plan. Snowlands recommends that you consider asking that the following, high-priority areas be closed to snowmobiles:

  • Chickadee Ridge and the surrounding area
  • Relay Ridge and Relay Ridge Road
  • Family snow play area across from Tahoe Meadows along the Mt Rose Highway
  • Incline Area (site of former Incline Lake)
  • Martis Peak Road on east side of Highway 267 near Brockway Summit
  • The junction of Highways 28 and 50 at Spooner Summit
  • An area northeast of Fallen Leaf Lake between Fallen Leaf Lake Road and Camp Richardson

If you have visited any of these areas or would like to visit them in the future, please tell the Forest Service how the presence of snowmobiles would impact the experience you seek. Please be specific about how you would like the area to be managed: no snowmobiles. Quiet recreation on public land is a right that should not be kept from us by a small group of individuals.

If you have ever had an incident on the LTBMU when your recreational experience was impacted by the presence of snowmobiles, please let the Forest Service know. They need to know when and where such occurences are taking place on the land they manage so that they may take measures to minimize these conflicts as required by the Travel Management Rule. Conflicts can occur even when snowmobiles are being operated legally and safely, something that Forest Service planners do not always recognize. If you no longer visit an area to avoid snowmobiles, then let the Forest Service know that, too.

How To Comment

You may submit comments in two ways:

  • Using the comment submission form on the Forest Service comment page.
  • Mail or hand-deliver written comments to:

Ashley Sibr
Winter Rec and Over Snow Vehicle Travel Management
35 College Dr
South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150

Public comments are due December 9, 2019

The Winter Recreation and Snowmobile Plan by the Forest Service can be found on the LTBMU website at