The Record of Decision (ROD) and Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the Stanislaus National Forest OSV Use Designation Project were published on March 22, 2019. Although we support elements of the draft plan – establishing a minimum snow depth restriction of 12″ for cross-country OSV travel, setting a season of use at Sonora Pass consistent with the Bridgeport Winter Recreation Area, and not designating some popular quiet recreation areas for OSV use – there are many aspects of the draft plan that fail to minimize conflict between OSV use and other uses, and to protect sensitive wildlife species.
OBJECT NOW: Anyone who submitted timely formal public comments on the DEIS may retain standing to participate in future objection resolution meetings by submitting an objection using the form and template below by May 13, 2019.
Airola Peak, Carson Iceberg Wilderness, Stanislaus National Forest. Photo by Alex Dodov.
Cross-country skiing on the Stanislaus in 1934
SCOPING: Based on a public scoping process that ended in August 2015, the Stanislaus National Forest has been working on developing and analyzing winter travel management alternatives. During the scoping period Winter Wildlands Alliance and Snowlands Network submitted a “Skiers Alternative” that would enforce existing protections of wild lands and unique natural features, set aside accessible areas for non-motorized winter recreation, and allow snowmobiling across a large network of trails and play areas. You can view a map of our scoping proposal HERE.
DEIS: The Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the Stanislaus National Forest‘s new winter travel plan was published on August 24, 2018. Alternative 5 was the forest’s “preferred alternative” — click here for a link to the high-res map (pdf) — and with some key exceptions (see below) we felt that it did a decent job of establishing a balanced baseline for winter management that accommodates appropriate existing snowmobile routes and play areas along Highways 4 and 108, and also provides some limited protections for important non-motorized recreation zones, wildlife, and natural resources.
HOWEVER: Several important nonmotorized areas were not protected in Alternative 5:
Pacific Valley and Eagle/Night Near Natural Areas
The Herring Creek area immediately adjacent to the Leland Snowplay Area on Highway 108
Osborne Hill and other Nordic touring terrain to the immediate east and west of Lake Alpine
Areas between Cabbage Patch and Black Springs and Mattley Ridge off Highway 4
Route 7N02 in the Big Meadow Area for non-motorized touring to the Stanislaus Canyon overlook
Full DEIS documents and map links below. Or visit the Forest Service project page HERE (click “Analysis” tab for DEIS and alternative maps).
Since the Forest Service published a Proposed Action in late September that outlines a preliminary management plan for all types of backcountry winter recreation on public lands in the Lake Tahoe Basin, we’ve been hearing from all sides that their proposal is far from perfect.
Now, the Forest Service is asking for your input on how to make it better for everyone. Submit your comment directly to the Forest Service. The deadline for public comment on the Proposed Action for the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit is December 9th.
At an open house for over-snow vehicle planning in Tahoe last week, Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit Forest Supervisor Jeff Marsolais said this is just the start of the process. Right now, we are consulting with our local partners in Tahoe—Snowlands Network and the Tahoe Backcountry Alliance. And as we write our comments in response to the Forest Service’s proposed action, we encourage you to do the same.
Check out this beautiful film by one of our grassroots groups, Friends of Plumas Wilderness. "Visions of the Lost Sierra" is about the Wild & Scenic Middle Fork Feather River. The Middle Fork was one of the first eight rivers in the country protected by Congress through the National Wild & Scenic Rivers Act in 1968.
In late September, the Forest Service published a Proposed Action for Over-Snow Vehicle Planning that outlines a preliminary vision for all types of winter recreation in the Lake Tahoe Basin. This document represents one step in a much larger process, and the public can comment until November 19.