More U.S. Forest workshops called for |

More U.S. Forest workshops called for

Andy Bourelle

The U.S. Forest Service learned one important thing from Wednesday night’s public workshop concerning the Sierra Nevada Framework – it needs to have more workshops concerning roads.

“There was a significant number of people from the (off-highway vehicle) community and snowmobile community who wanted to talk about our Access and Travel Management Plan instead of the Sierra Nevada Framework,” Jeannie Stafford, assistant public affairs officer for the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit, said Thursday. “After last night, it was real obvious we need to have another meeting to discuss the ATM.”

The Forest Service held the workshop to discuss the Sierra Nevada Framework amendment project, which is designed to establish a region-wide management plan for all of the national forests in the Sierra Nevada, of which the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit is included.

The Forest Service had held two workshops in December concerning its Access and Travel Management Plan, a completely separate issue which will be used to establish future plans for the 469 miles of roads – ranging from dirt roads to two-lane paved roads – in the basin that belong to the Forest Service.

Stafford said the Forest Service did receive several comments on the Sierra Nevada Framework Notice of Intent, including concerns about forest thinning, prescribed burning and access to Forest Service land. Lake Tahoe residents expressed concern that the Notice of Intent was too vague and did not address recreation enough.

Public comments concerning the Sierra Nevada Framework Notice of Intent are due to the Forest Service by Jan. 19. However, a draft Environmental Impact Statement is expected to be released in February, and it will be followed by another public-comment period.

“I suggest (people who are first hearing about this now) call us and we can give them the material on the Notice of Intent,” Stafford said. “People can comment on the (Notice of Intent) until the 19th. If not, they can wait until the environmental document is published and comment at that time.”

The final EIS is expected to be released in the summer.

“It will amend the National Forest Management plan,” Stafford said. “How it will specifically impact the Lake Tahoe Basin is not yet known, until the environmental impact document is completed.”

No date has been scheduled yet for another meeting concerning the future of the Forest Service’s roads.

To obtain copies of the Sierra Nevada Framework Notice of Intent, residents are asked to call Jeannie Stafford at (530) 573-2721

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