U.S. Forest Service seeks public advice | TahoeDailyTribune.com

U.S. Forest Service seeks public advice

Andy Bourelle

The U.S. Forest Service is at a crossroads and wants public advice on which way to go.

Lake Tahoe Basin land belonging to the U.S. Forest Service contains 469 miles of roads, ranging from two-lane paved roads to dirt roads where drivers need four-wheel drive. Forest service officials are looking at altering many of those roads in the next few years – restoring some, destroying some and turning others into hiking and mountain biking trails.

That’s where the public comes in, because officials want Lake Tahoe residents to give them input on what roads people like using, which ones they would like to hike on or which ones should be destroyed.

The maps of the forest service’s tentative plans are available for viewing, and two public meetings – one on North Shore and one on South Shore – are scheduled for early December for Lake Tahoe residents to make comments.

“I hope we get a lot of people who show up,” said Kelly Cahill, Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit civil engineer. “It’s their road system, too.”

The proposed transportation system comes as a result of two assessments, one evaluating the need for access on the national forest land and the other assessed the potential risk to water quality resources.

The initial assessment identifies a network of 331 miles of roads which are part of the national forest transportation system and 138 miles which are not. Of those roads, 252 currently are open for public use. The tentative plan calls for most of the 138 miles to be obliterated – or returned to natural conditions – and some will be turned into trails.

The plans are only preliminary, and what the public has to say will be taken into consideration. However, every request won’t be granted, and the environmental impacts of the roads will be taken into consideration.

“What we’re really trying to hammer out is the need for access. Once we get that, then we can figure out the risk assessment to water quality, and that will help us prioritize what we’re doing,” Cahill said.

Actual work on most of the roads will not start at least until 2000. However, environmental documents have been approved for most of the North Shore and some of the East Shore. Work on the north Lake Tahoe roads began earlier this year and will continue next summer.


Workshops to discuss National Forest Transportation Plan

n December 8, 6 to 9 p.m.; South Tahoe High School Library, 1735 Lake Tahoe Blvd., South Lake Tahoe

n December 10, 6 to 9 p.m.; North Tahoe Conference Center, Kings Beach

To view the maps, contact Kelly Cahill at (530) 573-2744

Tahoe Daily Tribune E-mail: tribune@tahoe.com

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