Kurt Hildebrand

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May 24, 2013
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Feds unveil shorter Pine Nut trail

A proposed 45-mile nonmotorized trail through the Pine Nut Mountains has been split in two and reduced to about a quarter of its former size.

The Carson Valley Discovery Trail, originally envisioned as a loop around the Valley, has been revised to two much smaller loops, one at the existing trailhead near the end of Stephanie Way and another in Fish Springs near Out-R-Way and Blue Bird Road, or off Pine Nut Road. The two new trails will be named Juniper and Pinyon loops.

Bureau of Land Management Planning and Environmental Coordinator Brian Buttazoni said that a meeting held at Piñon Hills Elementary School in November attracted 120 people, far more than anticipated.

“The 61 comments we received ran the gauntlet from people who were adamantly against a formal hiking trail to people who perceived this as an attempt to close the Pine Nuts,” he said.

The original trail was proposed to run from the old power dam in Ruhenstroth to the prison property in Carson City.

Most of the recreational use in the mountains is by motorized vehicles.

“The Pine Nuts is a playground especially for motorized use,” he said. “What we’ve got today is a more practical and appropriately scaled project for the complexity of Pine Nuts.”

Besides the comments against the proposal, the route presented further difficulties because of the complex land ownership in the area.

“There are number of challenges due to the checkerboard ownership of land in the Pine Nuts, and urbanization going right up to the mountains,” he said.

Buttazoni pointed out that in the Pine Nuts’ 400,000 acres there isn’t a single authorized, designed, constructed and maintained hiking trail.

He said the proposal is under evaluation until June 11, and will come back for public review of a draft environmental impact statement in late summer or early fall.

“This is still early information, and we’ll take into account any comments we received,” he said.

The sites for the trail loops were chosen because they won’t affect the use of motorized vehicles in the Pine Nuts.

“We looked for spots that didn’t have a lot of vehicle use on them,” he said. “While these weren’t clear, they were at 85 percent.”

Maintenance of the trails would be through a long-term agreement between the BLM and the Carson Valley Trails Association.

As part of the revision of the plan, the BLM is seeking public comment through June 11.

Maps of the revised project area and other information is available at www.blm.gov/nv/st/en/fo/carson_city_field/blm_information/nepa.html.

For questions or to submit comments, contact Buttazoni, at 5665 Morgan Mill Rd, Carson City, NV 89701 or email at bbuttazoni@blm.gov. Comments may also be faxed to 885-6147. For more information call 885-6004.

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The Record Courier Updated May 24, 2013 03:54PM Published May 24, 2013 03:54PM Copyright 2013 The Record Courier. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.