The U.S. Forest Service has released a final environmental analysis for a plan that would guide management of about 75 percent of the land surrounding Lake Tahoe for the next 15 years.
The plan for the 154,000 acres of national forest managed by the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit “represents the culmination of many years of work for the Forest Service,” said Pacific Southwest Regional Forester Randy Moore.
It also “reflects many of the ideas and views expressed by members of the public and other agencies and groups,” Moore said in a news release.
About 18,500 individuals and organizations offered opinions on the draft plan. Many commenting on how actively the Forest Service should work to restore watersheds and aquatic ecosystems and to manage forest health and hazardous fuels.
Public comment also addressed whether recreation opportunities, facilities, roads and trails should be expanded or reduced.
The final plan includes the Stanford Rock Backcountry Area, about 3,800 acres between Blackwood and Ward canyons in west Tahoe, but does not recommend new wilderness designations, said Cheva Heck, the management unit’s spokesman.
According to the news release, the final plan continues active restoration of watersheds, streams and wildlife habitat, as well as active fuels reduction, and seeks to restore forest structure through tree-thinning and prescribed fire. It also allows for limited recreation expansion in some areas.
Access to roads and trails and vehicle parking would remain about the same, while the Forest Service would continue to develop transit alternatives to reach Forest Service facilities.
Those who submitted formal comments on the draft plan have until Jan. 21 to file a written objection if they believe the final plan does not address their comments.
After Jan. 21, the Forest Service will have 90 days to work with objectors to determine whether the agency can resolve their concerns.
Because the final plan has been approved by the regional forester, the chief of the Forest Service in Washington, D.C., will oversee the objection-resolution process, after which the plan could take effect.
In the meantime, the Forest Service will hold two online sessions from 5 to 6 p.m. Dec. 9 and from 2 to 3 p.m. Jan. 14 to explain the final plan and highlight changes from the draft plan.
“People log on via their computers, can see presentation slides, hear us talk and ask questions by typing them in,” Heck said.
The plan’s documents and details on the webinars will be posted at www.fs.usda.gov/goto/ltbmu/ForestPlanRevision. The webinars will be archived at the site for later viewing.
CDs or print copies of the plan are available at the Forest Supervisor’s office, 35 College Drive, South Lake Tahoe, or by calling (530) 543-2694.