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New park won’t include dogs, discs

Susan Wood, Nevada Appeal News Service

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE — Plans for the first California and Nevada bi-state park situated southeast of the casinos are rolling.

Three options are being considered. All show campgrounds and trails for hikers and mountain bikers, who represent the strongest voices thus far for park development.

Planners have dropped the ideas of a dog run and disc golf course as initially suggested in its plans for the Van Sickle Bi-state Park, a 725-acre parcel named after Carson Valley rancher Jack Van Sickle.

He donated and sold plots to the two states to secure a park.

Updated plans were presented to 25 park enthusiasts gathered at the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency offices Tuesday night, the second workshop intended to gain public comment on the park.

“We found a dog park is not consistent with park policy,” Design Workshop planner Lindy Hulton said, speaking for California and Nevada park workers Ken Anderson and Steve Weaver.

“We don’t mind an informal setting — but not a course,” Weaver said.

Having a dog park comes as more of a restriction. In California, dogs are allowed only if they are leashed and on paved trails. In Nevada, they can’t be off leash on any trail.

Anderson urged people with dogs — and he lumped himself in that category — to approach local governments for dog venues. There may be grant money for cities and counties to use from the state, too.

Weaver, speaking for Nevada policy, didn’t rule out the possibility of having dog trails in the park.

Park planners are considering many ideas, without placing a price tag on the options. Weaver said Nevada set aside $2.9 million for first phase development.

Anderson, a senior resource ecologist, said he hopes plans can pan out given California’s current budget crunch.

U.S. Forest Service park ranger Don Lane, who has mapped out recreational programs in the basin for more than 30 years, reminded planners that parks essentially operate at high capacity for 10 weeks.

Ideas for using trails in the winter for cross country skiing were also tossed in the mix. Park planners may opt for the snow-travel option, but they must work around steep terrain in many spots.

With a potential park entrance at Park and Montreal avenues, planners said chances are good for a trail leading from the casinos and the Marriott-anchored Heavenly Village into the park. Cultural outlets, including Van Sickle’s old barn, where historical and environmental awareness could taught, may also be included.

Those who want to comment may do so by contacting Hulton at Design Workshop, P.O. Box 5666; Stateline, NV 89449 or e-mail him at lhulton@designworkshop.com.

A third public workshop will be scheduled next month.