Public reviewing Forest Service plans

Residents responding to proposed changes in Forest Service management of the Sierra Nevada near Carson City have said their biggest concern is overuse by snowmobile riders.

District Ranger Gary Schiff said the district has received more than 200 comments critical of the number of snowmobiles that clog the Tahoe Meadows recreation area near the peak of the Mount Rose Highway.

On a clear day with good snow, he said, Forest Service workers have counted 400 cars parked along the road in that area. "When asked whether there should be snowmobiling there, they are saying, 'No,'" he said.

Spooner Summit, another popular snowmobile recreation spot, has not received the same criticism.

Monday Forest Service workers met with the public at the Carson City Library in one of a series of meetings that will discuss wilderness management changes.

The meetings follow draft versions of environmental impact statements for both local and region-wide management of Forest Service lands. Planners previously hoped to be finished with the final versions by the end of the year, but the agency is currently short-staffed, said spokeswoman Christie Kalkowski.

Each significant area under Forest Service management has an environmental assessment and, if necessary, a more-detailed environmental impact statement.

With different areas at different points in the process, officials say they do not know when the studies will end.

Michelle Gamble, program assistant for the Nevada Association of Counties, came to the meeting as a representative of a "multiple use" philosophy toward forest management.

"We look at things like how limiting growth of these areas will affect the economy in things like grazing." she said. "Recreation areas shouldn't just be for people like young hikers.

"We want flexibility in planning."

The Carson Ranger District of the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest runs from north of Sparks to south to Hallelujah Junction.

Another public meeting was held Monday evening at the Carson Valley Inn in Minden.

Future meetings:

-- Tonight Markleeville residents will meet at Turtle Rock Park from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

-- Thursday meetings will be held in Bridgeport, Calif. at the Memorial Hall from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. and in Reno from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the McKinley Cultural Center.


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