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Forest Service plans open houses

by Christy Chalmers

The U.S. Forest Service will make the first of two trips to Minden Monday to get comments on a pair of forest management plans.

Forest Service representatives will be at the Western Nevada Community College, Douglas campus from 6-8 p.m. to explain the plans. One covers much of the Sierra Nevada and the other addresses the Carson Ranger District between Hallelujah Junction, north of Reno in California, south to the Markleeville area.

Another workshop is planned Tuesday in Markleeville at Turtle Rock Park from 4-8 p.m. That meeting will also include discussion of a national proposal for roadless areas.

Both issues were discussed Thursday in a meeting with the Douglas County commission. The commissioners have previously criticized the roadless area plan, saying it’s too vague and will limit access to public land. The board members are still skeptical, even though the Forest Service has introduced a “preferred alternative” that would prohibit new roads but not affect existing ones.

“This is just another taking of public land,” said Commissioner Steve Weissinger. “It’s been said this is just a way for President Clinton to satisfy the environmentalists before he goes out of office, and I agree.”

The commissioners also expressed concern about how the proposed management plans will affect the mountains. A proposal to set controlled burns for fire management could conflict with air regulations by causing haze.

“I think it concerns us greatly,” said Commissioner Jacques Etchegoyhen.

Forest Service planner Dave Loomis said residents from around the region are concerned about visual impacts to the mountains. The upcoming meetings are a chance to make comments that could be reflected in future drafts of the plans.

In addition to the Minden and Markleeville meetings, open houses are planned in Reno and Carson City. A second round of meetings in all of the locations will be held in late July.

For information on the meetings, call Loomis at 884-8132.

What: Open houses on forest management plans.

When: Monday, 6-8 p.m. at WNCC Douglas campus, 1680 Bently Parkway South, Minden; Tuesday, 4-8 p.m. at Turtle Rock Park, Markleeville.

Info: Dave Loomis, 884-8132