U.S. Forest Service officers cited five men during the Feb. 25-26 weekend for riding snowmobiles in the Mokelumne Wilderness on the Eldorado National Forest. The five riders, residents of South Lake Tahoe and the Carson Valley, received mandatory notices to appear before the federal magistrate in Sacramento.
The wilderness area is accessed from the Blue Lake trailhead and the Forestdale area on Highway 88. The area is posted as closed to motorized use and maps are readily available. While on patrol, officers observed fresh snowmobile tracks passing directly underneath closure signs.
The violation can result in a fine of not more than $5,000, imprisonment for not more than six months, or both. Officers from the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit and the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest participated in the enforcement operation.
The Mokelumne Wilderness was designated with the original Wilderness Act in 1964, and like all wilderness areas is closed to any motorized activity. Understanding which areas are open and closed to snowmobiling is an essential part of planning a snowmobile outing.
Maps are located at the Hope Valley Snopark and Forestdale Road that clearly explain winter recreation opportunities in the area. Free maps are also available at the Carson Ranger District office and on the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest website, http://www.fs.usda.gov/activity/htnf/recreation/wintersports.