Property owners sing ‘unhappy trails’ to park officials
Two Carson Valley ranchers urged parks and recreation officials Wednesday to scrap draft trail maps in Douglas County and start the process over again.
But several Lake Tahoe basin residents who attended the meeting at Kahle Community Center said they were pleased with the mapping so far and encouraged more work on connecting trails and trailheads to several vistas above and around the lake.
From Topaz Lake to Lake Tahoe and the Pine Nut Mountains, Carson River valley and the Sierra Nevada, the plan identifies trailheads and links to provide the safest routes for off-road opportunities.
But county officials stressed the initial trail map proposal is merely a wish list drawn up by several people at a handful of meetings of individuals and trail interest groups.
County planning and economic development manager Mimi Moss called the trails plan “a dream map,” on which citizens last year were asked to put known trails, regardless of property lines.
Identified are trails that run from Stateline to Glenbrook and Zephyr Cove. Some of the accesses, especially near Glenbrook, run through private property.
“There’s existing trails from Glenbrook to Spooner, but you run into a fence,” said Nelson, an avid Tahoe hiker.
Trail advocate Mary Bennington said involvement of the Lake Tahoe trail systems was minimal, but there was enough input from known users to map some existing trails.
Bennington, who spoke on behalf of the Washoe tribe, said the group is opposed to hard surfaces that would interfere with irrigation or restrict river courses.
Proposed trails along the Carson River and trails that go through private property have become a point of contention between ranchers and property owners, who have spoken against the county’s effort to map trails.
The idea is to gather public input on the proposed routes and debate which are worthwhile and which should be scrapped, Moss said.
Skeptics argued the county ought to start over again.
Carson Valley resident J.B. Lekumberry called the plan “a magic brush” that spreads out over more than 400 pieces of private property. He argued the county should scrap the “dream map,” start over, and draw maps that don’t go through private property.
Carson Valley ranchers Kathy and Doug Hone agreed. They said they do see room for compromise, but that trail advocates and ranchers need to work together.
A trail system along the Carson River would be unwise because of the potential for flooding, Doug Hone said.
“When the east fork jumps the west fork (as it did in the 1997 flood), there wouldn’t be a trail left,” Hone said.
The Douglas County Planning Commission will host a public hearing and workshop on the trails plan at 1 p.m. Tuesday at the county administration building, 1616 8th St., Minden.