Comment Period Closed on Tahoe N.F. Draft Winter Travel Plan
Final Draft Plan Anticipated Nov-Dec 2018
The Tahoe National Forest is now in the final stages of a legally-mandated process to determine where Over-Snow Vehicles (OSVs) will be allowed on public lands and which areas will be protected for non-motorized activity. The agency published its Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) on April 13, 2018 (see details below), initiating a public comment period that closed on May 29, 2018.
See below for full joint comment letter (and map attachments) from Snowlands/Winter Wildlands Alliance.
OUR QUICK TAKE ON THE APRIL DRAFT PLAN: In general, we’re pleased with the depth of analysis the forest service has undertaken to arrive at these alternatives. The agency’s “preferred” alternative (Alternative 2) is a significant improvement over existing management and generally takes into consideration legal requirements to minimize user conflict and impacts to wildlife and resources, while still allowing for quality motorized experiences in discrete zones across the forest.
HOWEVER, as backcountry skiers and riders, Nordic skiers, snowshoers, climbers and winter mountaineers, we do have three major areas of concern and one recommendation:
Castle Peak/Coon Canyon: The preferred alternative leaves the popular and iconic backcountry ski and snowboard zones on the northeast face of Castle Peak open to snowmobiles. To minimize user conflict, we would like to see this high-value area protected for non-motorized use as described in Alternative 3 (or by a specific compromise between Alternatives 2 and 3).
Sardine Lakes/Sierra Buttes: The preferred alternative leaves backcountry ski and snowboard zones on the north side of Sierra Buttes open to snowmobiles, and fails to protect the popular Nordic touring area in the Sardine Lakes basin off of the Gold Lake Highway. To minimize conflict, we believe this high-value area should be protected for non-motorized use by modifying the preferred alternative so that it does not designate the Sardine Lakes basin (including Sierra Buttes) and the Saxonia Lake basin for OSV use.
Loch Leven Lakes: The preferred alternative protects most of this popular ski touring zone, but we would like to see the non-motorized boundary moved approximately ¼ mile further south to include Fisher Lake.
Pacific Crest Trail: The preferred alternative allows for OSV use right up to the tread of the Pacific Crest Trail, which fails to protect the Congressionally-mandated non-motorized character of the Pacific Crest Trail, does not comply with the PCT’s comprehensive plan, and fails to minimize conflict between snowmobilers and the growing number of non-motorized winter trail users. We suggest that the forest service incorporate a buffered PCT management scenario (with designated crossings) as described in Alternative 5 (“OSV use would not be designated in areas within the USFS Scenery Management System definition of Foreground for the Pacific Crest Trail”).
Collaborative Working Group: We recommend that a collaborative working group of stakeholders be convened during the final review period before publication of a Final Environmental Impact Statement to assist the forest service in finding workable compromises in these specific areas while still complying with all relevant federal rules, court orders and forest plan documents. To be successful, this working group must have professional, independent facilitation with clear sideboards, adequate representation from all relevant local and national stakeholder organizations, motorized and non-motorized, as well as forest service participation.
See below for Snowlands/Winter Wildlands Alliance joint comment letter, summaries of alternatives and links to the full DEIS and pdf maps. You can also explore the various alternatives and zones online using our interactive Outdoor Alliance Sierra Nevada Webmaps.
https://winterwildlands.org/wwa/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/MPOON_20170124_00533-1.jpg3711000Dpagehttps://winterwildlands.org/wwa/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Winter_Wildlands_Alliance_Logo.pngDpage2018-05-29 13:21:232018-06-01 15:34:444 Existential Reasons to Comment on the Tahoe Draft OSV Plan
Winter Wildlands Alliance/Snowlands Joint Letter to the Tahoe N.F.
Winter travel planning is the legal process by which each national forest in the country is required, with public input, to designate specific areas where snowmobiles and other motorized over-snow vehicles (OSVs) are and are not allowed to travel. This process is currently underway on six national forests in California — the first forests in the nation to undergo this kind of planning.
Based on a public scoping process that ended in April 2015, the Tahoe National Forest has been working on developing and analyzing its winter travel management alternatives. During the scoping period, Winter Wildlands Alliance and Snowlands Network submitted a “Skiers Alternative” that the Tahoe will analyze alongside other Alternatives. Click here for our proposed map as submitted.
Human-Powered on the Tahoe National Forest
Photo Gallery by Ming Poon, Tahoe Backcountry Alliance
3 national forests in Idaho and Wyoming take appropriate action, WWA and partners drop legal challenge. Onward and upward!
https://winterwildlands.org/wwa/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/Boise.jpg800800Hilary Eisenhttps://winterwildlands.org/wwa/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Winter_Wildlands_Alliance_Logo.pngHilary Eisen2018-07-12 15:05:182018-07-13 11:09:18To OSVUM Or Not To OSVUM: Getting on track with the Boise, Payette and Bridger-Teton National Forests
US District Court in Montana upholds Bitterroot National Forest Travel Plan against a lawsuit brought by motorized and mountain bike organizations.
https://winterwildlands.org/wwa/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/Saphire-WSA-Larry-Campbell-photo.jpg604900Hilary Eisenhttps://winterwildlands.org/wwa/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Winter_Wildlands_Alliance_Logo.pngHilary Eisen2018-07-03 15:43:502018-07-18 11:38:18A Win for Quiet Winter Wildlands on the Bitterroot
The Eldorado National Forest Draft Winter Travel Plan proposes to reverse historic protections and open traditionally non-motorized areas to snowmobile use. Let's not let this happen. Public comments are due August 6!
https://winterwildlands.org/wwa/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/480915_597520107942_19100707_31864898_687645680_n.jpg616960Dpagehttps://winterwildlands.org/wwa/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Winter_Wildlands_Alliance_Logo.pngDpage2018-07-02 18:50:082018-07-19 12:01:24Comment Now on the Eldorado NF OSV Plan