Forest Service makes draft decision on Incline Village plan
INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — The U.S. Forest Service granted initial approval of a management plan that is says strikes a balance between restoration and recreation on Lake Tahoe’s North Shore.
The public has just under a month to voice any objections to the draft decision — the 45-day public comment period officially started June 27. Objections will only be accepted from those who submitted project-specific written comments.
The draft decision, issued by the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit (LTBMU), pertains to 1,083 acres of National Forest System lands off Mount Rose Highway (Nevada Route 431) above Incline Village. It incorporates “alternative 2,” which involves a series of management actions related to roads and trails projects, hydrology and habitat restoration and vegetation management activities.
The project also proposes a Forest Plan amendment to modify a portion of the project area from a general conservation management area to a backcountry management area.
“The Incline Plan is a huge step toward improving National Forest recreation opportunities and public access on the North Shore of Lake Tahoe,” Jeff Marsolais, LTBMU forest supervisor, said in a press release. “I am confident this plan provides for restoration of this important ecosystem as well as sustainable recreational benefits for current and futures generations in the Incline area.”
According to the Forest Service, project-specific roads and trails proposals include adopting and rerouting of existing trails; replacing and/or upgrading road and trail stream crossings; installing “best management practices,” interpretive and wayfinding signs; creating a new trail near the former Incline Lake bed and resource protection barriers.
Restoration activities include removing the dam diversion ditch that connects Third Creek to the former Incline Lake bed; restoring stream channels and aquatic species habitat throughout the area; revegetating degraded areas with native vegetation species; restoring damaged wetlands; repairing erosion along the Franktown Ditch; developing a plan for future white bark pine management; and reducing tree density in meadow and wetland areas through forest thinning and restoration of aspen communities, according to the Forest Service.
The Forest Plan amendment aims to change the management area designation of approximately 400 acres of the project area (west of Third Creek) from general conservation (general forest) to backcountry. The remainder of the site would remain designated as general conservation.
No change to the management area description in the Forest Plan is proposed, only the geographic distribution of the backcountry management area in the project area, the Forest Service reported. No changes to the existing Forest Plan desired conditions, strategies, or standards and guidelines (design criteria) are proposed.