Mountain bikers geared-up |

Mountain bikers geared-up

Gregory Crofton, Tahoe Daily Tribune

Chunks of public land popular with mountain bikers will be linked to the once-private land that was purchased by the U.S. Forest Service last week.

“The cool thing for us is that we’ve always talked about another access to the Tahoe Rim Trail and Star Lake,” said David Hamilton, president of the Tahoe Area Mountain Bike Association and a teacher at Lake Tahoe Community College. “This will help us create different loops. I don’t anticipate any construction of any cool, groovy trails but it could happen.”

High Meadows, 1,790 acres purchased by the Forest Service for $29.5 million, is in El Dorado County not far from Freel Peak. The area can be accessed off Pioneer Trail by turning onto High Meadows Trail. High Meadows Trail becomes a Forest Service road that leads to a gate.

A makeshift parking area exists in front of the gate. The Forest Service says it will formalize the parking area but the gate will remain locked. Behind the gate is a two-mile gravel road that leads to High Meadows.

The agency plans to install erosion controls and a drainage system on the road, which could make the trip to the meadows smoother. The road travels mostly through private land owned by the Giovachinni family, but the family has agreed to allow the public to use the road.

“Please respect the property owners by keeping travel to the road as you go up to the meadow,” said Rex Norman, spokesman at the Forest Service.

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The total amount of land in the area owned by Giovachinnis was 2,280 acres. The family decided to retain ownership of 490 acres, land the access road weaves through.

Despite the L-shaped swath of land to remain in the Giovachinni family, the land purchase is still a windfall for people who enjoy the outdoors by bike, snowshoe, skis, hiking and horse.

“The whole area is quite open so people are going to start cruising around in there and trails may start to happen,” Hamilton said. “It’s kind of a wait and see. For us just to have access to that area is going to be really awesome — being able to move all the way up to Star Lake.”

Bob Larsen, a mountain bike enthusiast who works at the Lahontan Regional Quality Control Board, said he’s anxious to check out the area after nine years of riding around it.

“There’s definitely trail access up there that’s supposed to be really nice,” Larsen said. “I understand there’s trail access that comes down from Star Lake and the Rim Trail … but that’s just what I’ve heard.”

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