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September 20, 2012
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Fallen Leaf Lake project options expand

After receiving more than 2,000 comments on a proposal to make numerous changes to the trail system surrounding Fallen Leaf Lake, the U.S. Forest Service has released four more options for the project.

Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit staff outlined the additional options for the Fallen Leaf Lake Trail Access and Travel Management Plan to about 30 people at the Forest Supervisor's Office in South Lake Tahoe Wednesday night.

Concerns about the project have included the size of a bridge proposed for construction over Fallen Leaf Lake Dam, crowding caused by additional use of the trails in the area and the potential loss of several popular routes.

The Forest Service has received about 150 responses, containing more than 2,000 comments, on the proposal.

Each of the new alternatives discussed by the Forest Service Wednesday includes construction of a 4- to 6-foot-wide bridge over the Fallen Leaf Lake Dam rather than the 10- to 14-foot-wide bridge as proposed in the original alternative, which remains on the table.

Several popular existing trails, including what are known as the Mill Trail and Taylor Creek Trail, would also be improved and included in the Forest Service's official trail network under the new alternatives.

Although there is the potential for additional use of the area following completion of the project, the trail system would be better able to handle a range of visitors by improving some trails to allow greater numbers, while keeping other trails in a more backcountry setting, said Garrett Villanueva, a forest engineer with the Forest Service.

More than 13 miles of existing trails would be decommissioned and restored, while about 12 miles of new trails would be constructed under the project. The plan would also bring about 9 miles of existing trail into the Forest Service's official network and allow for nearly six miles of trail to be reconstructed or rerouted to meet Forest Service standards.

The only significant difference between the new alternatives is the location of a developed stream ford crossing designed to allow the passage of horseback riders across Taylor Creek.

A decision on which option the Forest Service will move forward with is expected in February. The Forest Service has not yet secured funding to construct the project. Mike Gabor, forest engineer, said the agency has several options for construction funding.

The deadline for comments on the proposal is Oct. 12.

For more information on the proposal and how to comment, contact Jacob Quinn at 530-543-2609 or jmquinn@fs.fed.us.


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Tahoe Daily Tribune Updated Sep 20, 2012 09:12PM Published Sep 20, 2012 09:10PM Copyright 2012 Tahoe Daily Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.