Forest Service acquires sensitive land at Homewood |

Forest Service acquires sensitive land at Homewood

Gregory Crofton

The U.S. Forest Service announced Tuesday it has bought 284 acres on the West Shore.

The land had been an undeveloped part of the privately owned Homewood Mountain Resort, but not part of its ski facility.

The property cost $9.84 million and includes a portion of the Madden Creek watershed, considered environmentally sensitive because it contains several springs and four streams that empty into Lake Tahoe, according to Gary Weigel, lands and minerals program manager for the Forest Service Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit.

“The owner had some options of developing it into estate home sites,” Weigel said. “The Forest Service did not want to see the property developed.”

The agency began work on the land deal in 2002 and finalized it Oct. 30, 2003. Under Forest Service management, the property will not be developed, is open to the public and available for non-motorized recreation.

The purchase also allowed for a consolidation of national forest land to the north and the west of Homewood Mountain Resort, which eases management of things like public access and forest fuels treatment, Weigel said.

The public owns approximately 80 percent of the land in the basin or 160,475 acres through the Forest Service. Including the surface of the lake, the basin contains 300,000 acres.

Money to buy the 284 acres next to Homewood Mountain Resort was generated by the Santini-Burton Act. It allows proceeds from the sale of federal land outside of Las Vegas to go toward the purchase of sensitive land in the basin.

Since the act became law in 1980, the agency has acquired more than 3,500 parcels valued at $130 million. Right now the Forest Service is working on deals to acquire seven lots in South Lake Tahoe. The lots cover a total of 2.24 acres.

One of the largest Forest Service purchases occurred in February 2003. It spent $29.5 million to buy nearly 1,800 acres between Heavenly Mountain Resort and Freel Peak. The agency bought the land, called High Meadow, from the Giovacchinis, a ranching family living in the Carson Valley.

– Gregory Crofton can be reached at (530) 542-8045 or by e-mail at

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