Six alternative plans for Desolation Wilderness forecast a different future
The U.S. Forest Service is considering a new management plan for the Desolation Wilderness that could reduce visits to the popular area, maintain the area at current use levels, or allow more visits in the future.
1) Opportunity Class:
Class I: outstanding opportunity for isolation and solitude
Class II: high probability
Class III: moderate probability
Class IV: low to moderate probability
Alternative 1: 0 acres OC I, 31,729 OC II, 13,980 OC III, 18,252 OC IV
Current condition: 0 acres OC I, 40,409 OC II, 8,485 OC III, 12,865 OC IV
Alternative 3: 23,738 acres OC I, 23,796 OC II, 13,150 OC III, 3,277 OC IV
Alternative 4: 38,240 acres OC I, 12,941 OC II, 12,122 OC III, 657 OC IV
Alternative 5: 41,464 acres OC I, 16,087 OC II, 6,410 OC III, 0 OC IV
Alternative 6, 55,722 acres OC I, 8,239 OC II, 0 OC III, 0 OC IV
2) Water Quality
Alternative 1: Install backcountry toilets in heavy use areas.
Current condition: 100-foot setback from waterways for human waste disposal
Alternative 3: 200-foot setback. Carrying out or burning toilet paper mandatory.
Alternative 4: 200-foot setback. Carrying out or burning toilet paper mandatory.
Alternative 5: 200-foot setback. Carrying out or burning toilet paper mandatory.
Alternative 6: Pack out all human waste from all areas.
3) Wood Fires
Alternative 1: Wood fires allowed in fire rings.
Current Condition: Wood fires prohibited. Enclosed stoves permitted.
Alternative 3: “No trace” fires allowed in OC I and II. Prohibited elsewhere.
Alternative 4: Wood fires prohibited. Enclosed stoves permitted.
Alternative 5: Wood fires prohibited. Enclosed stoves permitted.
Alternative 6: Wood fires prohibited. Enclosed stoves permitted.
4) Group Size
Alternative 1: 25 persons
Current Condition: 15 persons
Alternative 3: 15 in OC III and IV, six in OC I and II
Alternative 4: 12 in OC III and IV, six in OC I and II
Alternative 5: 12 in OC III, six in OC I and II
Alternative 6: six in OC I and II, up to 12 with special permit
5) Overnight Quota
Alternative 1: 793 permits
Current Condition: 700
Alternative 3: 582
Alternative 4: 495
Alternative 5: 402
Alternative 6: 264
6) Day Use Quota
Alternative 1: No quota
Current Condition: No quota
Alternative 3: Quota for high-use areas
Alternative 4: 211 permits
Alternative 5: 165
Alternative 6: 104
Alternative 1: Dogs under voice control
Current Condition: Dogs under voice control
Alternative 3: Dogs on leashes
Alternative 4: Dogs on leashes
Alternative 5: dogs on leashes
Alternative 6: Dogs prohibited
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