BLM wants a new management plan for the Pine Nuts

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A plan that could lead to limiting access to the Pine Nut Mountains is under review by the Bureau of Land Management.

The Pine Nuts resource management plan, unchanged since 1985, is in need of an overhaul in light of various issues facing the 400,000 acre mountain area that encompasses property in east Carson City and Douglas County, said Tom Crawford, BLM economist and team leader of the Pine Nut plan amendment. From off-road vehicles to endangered species, population growth to wild horses, issues facing the Pine Nuts have changed since 1985, he said.

With the planning process just off the ground, Crawford is gathering support from multiple entities within Carson City and Douglas and Lyon counties. The Carson River Advisory Committee on Wednesday and the Carson City Board of Supervisor on Thursday will review an analysis of the issues members of the public and BLM and other officials will tackle in the coming years.

"There is considerably more usage in the Pine Nuts because of its proximity to urban areas," Crawford said. "Population growth has dictated that it's time to reevaluate the decisions that were made in 1985."

Around 400,000 acres in the Pine Nuts, which basically stretch from Dayton to Topaz Ranch Estates, are public land, but the public land mingles with 81,000 acres of private land, 60,000 of tribal land and 10,000 acres of land being studied as a national wilderness area.

The mix of land creates a checkerboard of private versus public property and brings trespassing conflicts with it. Crawford said part of the planning process may include acquiring some property and keeping public property previously set aside for sale. Crawford said as people have moved to the edges of the Pine Nuts, many have expressed a desire to keep those lands public.

Crawford said while limited access eventually may come out of a four-year planning process, "we're a long way from that," he said.

"One of the questions will be, 'Does anything need to be done?'" Crawford said. "How should (the plan) be revised to account for new or emerging issues?"

Crawford said one of the major complaints from the Pine Nuts' neighboring private property owners is the effect of off-road vehicles on their property and public property. Off-road vehicles not only have the ability to tear up the land, but also bring in seeds of noxious weeds not native to the Pine Nuts, Crawford said.

"A lot of Forest Service and BLM lands are having to address this issue because of complaints," he said.

He sees threatened and endangered species such as the sage grouse becoming a player in the process to review uses in the Pine Nuts.

The federal government set aside $300,000 a year for the study, which is expected to be complete in 2005 or 2006.

If you go:

What: Carson River Advisory Committee meeting

When: 6 p.m., Wednesday


What: Carson City Board of Supervisors meeting

When: 10 a.m., Thursday

Where: the Community Center's Sierra Room, 851 E. William St.


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