Winter Travel Management

Plumas National Forest

Final OSV Plan Released

Plumas NF has released a Final EIS and Draft Record of Decision for its Over Snow Vehicle Use Designation project. The selected alternative makes odest gains for non-motorized winter recreation, increasing the percentage of the forest closed to snowmobiles from a paltry 3% to a more reasonable 29%. he plan closes several areas popular with skiers, such as the Black Gulch area east of Spanish Peak and Bucks Lake Wilderness and land south of the Plumas Eureka State Park including most of Mount Washington. However, some areas where conflicts occur between skiers and snowmobilers were left open to motor vehicles, and the plan does not protect most of the Pacific Crest Trail within the forest, allowing snowmobiles right up to the edge of the trail.

Snowlands will be submitting objections to some aspects of the plan in an effort to improve it. Objections are due by October 5, but in order to submit an objection, you must have commented on the Draft EIS and Proposed Action, and you may only object on issues for which you previously commented.

Our objection will include these issues:

  • The plan allows a snowmobile trail to be groomed up to the boundary of Bucks Lake Wilderness. A designated route then follows the wilderness boundary for over a mile, inviting wilderness trespass.
  • The plan allows snowmobile use in Upper Florentin Canyon, historically used by skiers as part of the Lost Sierra Traverse.
  • The plan allows snowmobile use in some isolated areas east of Adams Peak that are inaccessible from any motorized trailhead and are in an Inventoried Roadless Area and the only semi-primitive non-motorized area on the eastern escarpment.
  • The plan allows snowmobile use in high-priority conservation lands in the Feather River citizens-proposed wilderness, which includes popular and historic skiing areas such as Onion Valley, Last Chance Creek. Samwill Tom Creek, and Washington Creek drainages.
  • The plan fails to protect the intended non-motorized nature of the Pacific Crest Trail by allowing snowmobile use in the immediate vicinity of the PCT.
  • The plan fails to minimize impacts to wildlife, specifically the Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frog in the areas of Cape, Mud, and Blue Lakes.
  • The plan designates an area for OSV use that is larger than a ranger district, in violation of the travel rule.

You can learn about the Plumas plan and access the plan documents from their OSV project page.