Open house addresses public concerns over forest service land

Forest Service officials and Carson area residents met Thursday evening to discuss plans for wildland management in the Carson Ranger District of the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest.

About 50 people crowded into the Carson City Library Auditorium for an open house spurred by concerns earlier this year about closures of Clear Creek Road and an offshoot of Kings Canyon Road.

Officials took the opportunity to learn residents' opinions about issues like fire safety, handicapped access and recreational use. They floored questions about the goals and limitations of Forest Service management.

District Ranger Gary Schiff said a meeting in February about a small dirt road that was closed in the early winter "evolved into talking to folks about how to manage the whole area."

The Carson Ranger District stretches 100 miles from North of Highway 395 to Carson Valley.

"It's an opportunity to talk about things like law enforcement, picnic areas and motorized access," Schiff said. "We're getting a good idea of what folks want to see."

Gardnerville-residents Harry and Thelma Stanley said they were pleased to see government listening in an environment where government is becoming increasingly intrusive.

"We are here to make sure the senior citizens' input is heard," Harry Stanley said. "We are sick and tired of government coming and telling us things. It's nice that they are listening."

He was lobbying to stop road closures to areas that might be difficult to access for some people.

Richard Grundi, a longtime Kings Canyon dweller, has spearheaded yearly volunteer efforts to clean up trash in the canyon for 20 years. He said city cooperation has helped keep the area beautiful for recreation seekers.

"We get together, clean up the area and have a potluck dinner that night," he said. "The city doesn't charge us at the dump and we all get to know each other."

He said about 50 people show up for the cleanup each year.

Recreation Program Manager Larry Randall said the information accumulated during Thursday's meeting will be considered in forming a plan for the area.

"This is a whole different approach," he said. "In the past we would come to people with a proposal and then we would hear about it.

"People fall on all sides of these issues, so we can't make any promises, but we'll do our best."

Randall said the district is currently working on an amendment, unrelated to the meeting, that will update the management plan throughout the forest. The amendment will account for recently acquired land.


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