Now’s The Time To Speak Up About Lake Tahoe Forests

The Snowlands Network, an advocacy group representing “those who venture into the winter backcountry in search of peace and solitude,” recently contact Tahoe Mountain Sports about a revised land management plan the Forest Service is currently drafting for Lake Tahoe. They wanted to let us know that if we want to have any input in this plan — if we want to let the Forest Service know what is important to us about the mountains and woods in our backyard — that now is the time. They are taking comments on this plan, which will influence decisions and land use for the next 15 to 20 years, until Aug. 29.

Here’s what Bob Rowen, vice president for advocacy at Snowlands Network, had to say:

What are your favorite activities in the Lake Tahoe Basin? Would you like the Forest Service to  give more attention to certain issues? Well, now is your time to speak up because they are listening. The Forest Service is revising its management plan for lands in the Lake Tahoe basin. They have circulated a draft revised plan and are taking comments on the draft plan through August 29. This revised land management plan will provide overall direction for management of the forest for the next 15 to 20 years. So it is very important that you speak up now!
You can access and review the draft plan on the Forest Service website. However, you do not need to read the plan to make your voice heard. Simply tell the Forest Service what activities you enjoy in the Tahoe Basin and what activities you would like to see the Forest Service support.

This is OUR forest and OUR government agency.  We urge you to take ownership of the issues by participating in this process.
One issue of concern to the Snowlands Network is the failure of the draft plan to address motorized recreation in winter. Snowmobiles are exempt from most prohibitions against motorized travel and the Forest Service does not propose to change this in the revised plan. Snowmobile use has effectively foreclosed skiers and those on snowshoes from enjoying certain areas of the Basin and this trend continues with more areas at risk of being taken over by snowmobiles. We are asking the Forest Service to include winter motorized travel management in the draft plan and hope you will too.

Other issues of concern include whether the Forest Service will propose (and then manage) additional lands as Wilderness. (Actual Wilderness designation must come from Congress.)  A group of environmental organizations are pressing for more Wilderness designation and have sought to define new Wilderness areas so as to NOT impact existing mountain bike trails — something the Forest Service failed to do in its own “alternatives”.  You might also comment on whether you support additional Wilderness, in particular Wilderness with boundaries drawn that are consistent with existing mountain bike trails.
Comments to the Forest Service may be emailed to:

Include “Draft Land Management Plan” in the subject line of your email.
Comments may also be mailed to:
Draft Land Management Plan, 
35 College Drive
, South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150
Please note: Comments on the draft plan should address overall management direction for the Lake Tahoe lands, rather than particular complaints about specific facilities.

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