Forest Service unveils travel plan for Sierra above Carson City
November 26, 2005
CARSON CITY, Nev. - The U.S. Forest Service has designated a system of motorized and non-motorized routes for 10,000 acres of public land in the Sierra Nevada above Carson City.
The agency's updated travel management plan for Kings, Clear Creek and Voltaire canyons designates 12 miles of roads open to the public, 7 miles of administrative roads, 4.5 miles of motorized two-track trails and 4-5 miles of non-motorized trails.
About 17 miles of roads and other routes will be closed to motorized vehicles under the Carson Ranger District's plan. Cross-country motorized travel off designated routes will continue to be prohibited.
District Ranger Gary Schiff said use of the scenic areas is soaring because of their proximity to booming Carson City and Douglas County.
"Providing designated travel routes and facilities is long overdue, especially given current and projected population growth," he said in a report released last week.
Dave Loomis, land user planner for the Carson Ranger District, said the plan had been in the works for about a year and was part of a three-year effort.
Nationwide, the Forest Service and U.S. Bureau of Land Management are developing plans to restrict motorized vehicles to designated routes as part of an effort to curb environmental damage and ease conflict among users of public lands.
Between 1972 and 2000, the number of off-road vehicle users increased from about 5 million to 36 million, causing conflicts with other users such as horseback riders and hikers.
"We want people to know we're providing recreational opportunities in a more organized fashion than we have in the past and that we're protecting cultural and natural resources," Loomis told Gardnerville's Record-Courier newspaper.
"We're adopting some new routes and others we are decommissioning. We want to make sure the watershed and wildlife are protected," he said.
Larry Randall, recreation program manager for the Carson Ranger District, said officials tried to accommodate users.
"We felt we took pains to listen to users' needs," he said. "Every acre won't provide every opportunity, but we feel we reached a good balance."
Loomis said the plan enhances non-motorized recreational opportunities.
"It provides a more organized system to go horseback riding, hiking and mountain biking," he said. "We'll be closing off some roads used by off-road vehicles to protect the watershed."
The plan will have no significant environmental impact, Schiff said.
Appeals must be submitted within 45 days.
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