Grant to help keep snowmobiles, skiers separate |

Grant to help keep snowmobiles, skiers separate

Erin Roth

INCLINE VILLAGE – A $40,000 grant from Nevada will help keep snowmobiles and skiers separated in the Tahoe Meadows.

In 2001 the Carson Ranger District declared about 70 percent of Tahoe Meadows, which straddles the Mount Rose Highway between Reno and Lake Tahoe, be designated for non-motorized winter sports only. The U.S. Forest Service and the California/Nevada Snowmobile Association will share responsibility for patrolling the area.

“We’re taking a proactive stance to not have a problem,” said Greg McKay, central region director for the California/Nevada Snowmobile Association. “We’re mitigating any potential problem through education, signage and our presence on the slope.”

Conflicts with cross-country skiers and others prompted a ban on snowmobiles on the south side of Mount Rose Highway. Although some disagree with the restriction, the majority of both groups accept the compromise, McKay said.

Since the restrictions, the Forest Service hasn’t heard many formal complaints – only three last year out of some 50,000 visitors, McKay said – but there’s always room for improvement.

“Given the number of people who recreate in such a small area, things are going well,” said Larry Randall, recreation program manager for the Carson Ranger District. “We’re not unhappy with the current situation, but it could always be better. We just want to get the word out on what the regulations are.”

“We want to be proactive rather than reactive,” added Wayne Fischer, president of the North Tahoe Snow Travelers.

That’s why the Forest Service, with the help of local snowmobiling clubs, applied for the grant. It will allow the Forest Service to spend twice as much time in the meadows informing people about the regulations, putting up signs and educating the public about safety in the backcountry.