Winter Travel Planning

Tahoe National Forest

Tahoe National Forest has issued a Draft Record of Decision (ROD) and Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for a plan to manage over-snow vehicle (OSV) recreation. Objections to the decision must be submitted within 45 days, or by March 25, 2019. Objections may only be made be those who commented on the draft EIS, and only on issues upon which they commented.

DECISION

Tahoe has decided to implement Alternative 2 from the DEIS with minor modifications. Several of the improvements to non-motorized recreation included in the DEIS have been retained, including closures in the Loch Leven Lakes, Andesite Ridge, Yuba Pass, and Boca Hill areas. The Loch Leven Lake closure was expanded to include Fisher Lake. However, no new closure areas were added, despite many requests from backcountry skiers to close more areas around Donner Summit, Castle Peak, and the Sierra Buttes.

In addition, twelve additional crossings of the Pacific Crest Trail were added, and some of these may be up to one quarter mile wide. A minimum width of 12 inches for cross-country travel was replaced by the requirement that no damage to resources occurs. Numerous designated snowmobile routes that were not analyzed in the DEIS have been added, with some of these crossing private land and for which the Forest Service has easements.

OBJECTIONS

Anyone who submitted comments during the DEIS comment period may submit an objection to the decision and final plan. You may only object on issues for which you submitted comments. The Forest Service is required to respond to each objection within a specified time period. Snowlands is analyzing the FEIS and will decide whether or not to file objections.

Here are some of our recommendations to the Forest Service:

Alternative 2 Modifications

Alternative 2, the selected alternative, would be acceptable if several changes were made:

  • Enlarge the Castle Valley OSV closure to the east into Coon Canyon and around Summit Lake; enlarge the closed area to the west south of Lower Castle Creek.
  • Create a non-motorized region in the Lakes Basin by closing the area around the Sierra Buttes, Saxonia Lake, and Sardine Lakes south of Packer Lake Road.
  • Close the area to the east of Anderson Peak as in Alternative 5.
  • Do not designate any OSV areas or routes north of Highway 267 at Brockway Summit.
  • Create a non-motorized buffer around the Pacific Crest Trail with limited designated crossings as in Alternative 5.
  • Require a uniform minimum snow depth of 18 inches for OSV travel everywhere.
  • Set an OSV season of December 1 - April 30.
  • Require or encourage best-available-technology snowmobiles in popular shared use areas, such as the Lakes Basin.

DEADLINE

The deadline for submitting objections is March 25, 2019.