Forest Service approves management plan for Lake Tahoe
A recently approved plan for U.S. Forest Service land in the Lake Tahoe Basin updates how the forest is managed, but shouldn’t have much impact on people’s day-to-day experience with campgrounds, rivers and trails at the lake, according to Forest Service staff.
A Record of Decision regarding the revised Land Management Plan for the U.S. Forest Service Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit was signed by Pacific Southwest Regional Forester Randy Moore on June 20, according to a press release from the Forest Service. The revised plan replaces the 1988 Land Management Plan and will guide projects and activities in the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit for the next 15 years.
The updated plan uses a similar approach as the 1988 document, but includes the most recent science and recognizes climate change.
“It basically updates and modernizes how we manage the forest,” said Mike LeFevre, planning staff officer with the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit.
The plan allows for an approximate five to 10 percent increase in capacity at developed recreation sites during the next 15 years. Road and trail systems and uses remain similar to what exists today, according to the Forest Service.
“It doesn’t really have changes the public would see,” LeFevre said. “We’re not taking out campgrounds or anything like that.”
Management of wilderness areas in the basin remains the same under the updated plan and allows for the possibility of future protections for several basin rivers and creeks.
“Under the new plan, the management of the existing Desolation, Granite Chief and Mt. Rose wilderness areas within the basin remains the same,” according to the release. “While the Plan does not recommend any new wilderness areas, it does identify 50,084 acres as Backcountry Management Area, emphasizing natural environmental processes, dispersed recreation, and limited management. The plan affirms the 1999 Wild and Scenic River recommendation for seven miles of the Upper Truckee River and also identifies three Upper Truckee tributaries as well as Taylor Creek, Eagle Creek and Glen Alpine Creek as eligible for further suitability study.”
Completion of the plan has been delayed due to challenges to U.S. Forest Service policies at the national level, according to LeFevre. The current process started in 2012. The Forest Service received 18,500 comments on the plan and worked through 12 formal objections, including concerns over fire districts, wilderness areas and snowmobile access, LeFevre said.
The Forest Service will continue discussions surrounding winter recreation in the basin and should have additional information on any potential changes available for public review this fall, LeFevre added.
Supporting documents for the Land Management Plan are available on the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit’s website and at the LTBMU Forest Supervisors Office at 35 College Drive in South Lake Tahoe.