Please speak up for quiet winter wildlands on the Tahoe National Forest!

Deadline extended until April 20!

The Tahoe National Forest is just getting started on developing a winter travel management plan that will govern where snowmobiles are and are not allowed on the forest and they are looking for public input on which areas and trails should be open to over-snow vehicles. Once this comment period ends, the Tahoe NF will develop and analyze a number of alternative management scenarios, one of which will eventually become the final management plan. Winter Wildlands Alliance worked with Snowlands Network to submit a “Skiers Alternative” for consideration in this analysis. In our Alternative we proposed that the Tahoe NF protect nonmotorized recreation opportunities in areas on both sides of I-80 that are readily accessible from Donner Summit. We are also asking for a small non-motorized area in the Lakes Basin area, around Sardine Lakes, and for an additional nonmotorized area surrounding Loch Leven lakes (which the Tahoe has also included in its proposed action).  You can see a map of our proposal here.

Now is the time to speak up for quiet winter recreation on the Tahoe NF.  Your input now helps guide the rest of the process and will help the Forest Service come up with a better management plan. You can review the Tahoe’s Proposed Action and submit comments hereIf you want to submit site-specific comments you can also use the Forest Service’s online mapping tool.

In this initial comment period it is important for the Forest Service to hear from skiers and others who visit the Tahoe NF in winter. If you recreate on the Tahoe NF then please, tell the Forest Service that you value quiet recreation opportunities on the forest and that you want to see those opportunities protected.  It helps if you give details on the specific places that you care about. For example, many people have expressed frustration with conflicts between motorized and non-motorized users on Castle Peak but the forest is not proposing any changes to the existing management in this area.  If you share this frustration then you should explain in your comments why you don’t feel like the existing management for the Castle Peak area is working and provide suggestions for how it could be improved.

In addition to discussing your site-specific concerns, we suggest incorporating the following points into your comments:

When determining routes and areas that will be open to snowmobiles in the new travel plan the Tahoe NF is required to   minimize damage to soil, watersheds, vegetation, or other resources; minimize harassment of wildlife or significant disruption of wildlife habitat; and minimize conflicts between over-snow vehicle use and other recreational uses of the same or neighboring public lands.

Please consider which places are popular for non-motorized recreation or that contain sensitive environmental resources are and do not allow cross-country snowmobile travel in these areas. Groups such as Winter Wildlands Alliance are working to identify popular backcountry ski areas on the Tahoe National Forest and I ask that you include their recommendations in your Preferred Alternative.

The final travel plan should ensure there are non-motorized areas and trails that are accessible from plowed parking areas to provide non-motorized recreation opportunities that are equitable to those created for motorized recreation.

Tahoe comments are due March 25  April 20!


The Eldorado National Forest wants your input  – now is the time to speak up for human-powered snowsports! 

Deadline extended until April 20!

The Eldorado National Forest began their winter travel management scoping period on February 26 and will be collecting public comments on their Proposed Action until April 20.  You can view the Proposed Action and submit comments by visiting the Eldorado National Forest travel planning webpage.  As with the Tahoe National Forest, it is important that the Eldorado hear from human-powered winter recreationists.  Please tell the Eldorado National Forest that you would like to see areas of the forest protected for non-motorized winter recreation and be specific in describing where on the forest you go to backcountry ski, cross-country ski, or snowshoe.  To submit site-specific comments you can use the Forest Service’s online mapping tool.

Unless the places you visit are entirely within Wilderness there is no guarantee that they will remain non-motorized in the future unless they are designated as such in this new travel plan.  Many areas that have historically managed for non-motorized use are not designated as such in the Proposed Action and it is critical that skiers and snowshoers speak up to protect these places.

As with the Lassen and Tahoe National Forests, we are developing a “Skiers Alternative” for the Eldorado National Forest.  Some of the key components of this Alternative are described below and we encourage you to incorporate these points into your comments.

*  The areas immediately north and south of the Carson Pass and Meiss Sno-Parks should be managed for non-motorized use. This includes the area around Woods Lake and the approach to Winnemucca Lake as well as the south facing slopes above the  Kirkwood Nordic center. It also includes the approach that leads to Meiss Meadow. These areas were historically managed as non-motorized but the Eldorado does not include these areas as non-motorized in its Proposed Action.

*  Designate the crest between Echo Summit and Carson Pass as non-motorized.  This area is traversed by the Pacific Crest Trail.  The Echo to Carson tour is a popular backcountry ski route but only a portion of this area is closed to OSVs in the Eldorado Proposed Action.

*  Do not allow OSV use in the Martin Meadow area of Highway 88.  This area is popular with skiers and snowshoers and should be managed for non-motorized recreation.

*  Designate the meadows and other terrain around the Van Vleck Bunkhouse as non-motorized but allow for continued snowmobile access to the bunkhouse.  This area has previously been closed to motorized use but the forest order implementing such closure is no longer in effect.

*  We support the creation of a new non-motorized area around Foster Meadow Road and Anderson Ridge along Highway 88.  Snowlands has marked ski trails in this area and has long sought to have it closed to motorized vehicles.

Your input during this comment period will help to protect non-motorized recreation opportunities on the Eldorado National Forest.

Eldorado comments are due April 3  April 20