The jury is still out for Carson City residents living in the Kings Canyon and Clear Creek neighborhoods who are waiting as federal workers and civic leaders hash out a plan for accessibility to U.S. Forest Service roads.
The controversy surrounds the recent closing of a single-lane dirt road that shoots off Kings Canyon Road about a mile before the pavement ends and the installation of a locked gate on Clear Creek Road near Spooner Summit.
The two roads provide access to lands that were acquired by the Forest Service in 1997 land swaps. Residents and recreationalists met last week in the Kings Canyon home of Dave Gissen to discuss management of the areas. Forest Service workers explained the road closures were for repairs.
But Clear Creek resident Scott Ford said the closure in the fall of 1998 was promised to be temporary while problem areas of the road were repaired. Ford said it has been closed since.
"People have been using this road for years," he said. "Then the Forest Service came in and cut water bars across it and destroyed it. Then they just arbitrarily blocked it off.
"It used to be when they closed a road they had to do some legislation first."
Larry Randall, acting recreation program manager with the Forest Service, said because of his newness to the job and the area he is unsure of plans for the future of the road.
"We intend to take up all these issues when I can get up there and take a look for myself," he said. "We're pursuing it, but we need to learn."
The Kings Canyon closure in the fall is also slated to be temporary. At last week's meeting, Forest Service workers said the road needed protection from winter conditions where ruts and potholes are exacerbated by the rain and snow.
The road is slated to open April 1 barring an extreme extension of winter weather, Randall said.
He said the Carson Ranger District is taking community suggestions for the roads to heart.
"We hope to organize some volunteer work to do some road repair," he said. At last week's meeting, there was discussion about a possible volunteer work day to repair the road. Randall said washouts might make it necessary to haul big equipment into the area to level the roads.
Tom Baker, rural area director for Sen. Richard Bryan, D-Nev., said he met with Forest Supervisor Bob Vaught to "ask about getting the gate removed on Clear Creek Road and doing a survey."
Vaught replaced Gloria Flores, who resigned the post following the controversy surrounding the Jarbidge road closure in Northern Nevada. Baker said Vaught looks forward to working with the community to find a solution to the grievances.