Genoans concerned trail system may result in parking congestion, fires
The rub for a proposed Genoa trail system wasn’t so much where people walk as where they park.
About three-dozen residents attended a U.S. Forest Service workshop on Monday on a trail system proposed for the public land above the town.
Concerns ranged from an increased chance for fires to whether more people wandering the mountain would drive wild animals into town.
But key among the concerns was where potential hikers would park while they were walking the mountain.
Longtime Centennial Drive resident Rex Cleary pointed out that parking for the Sierra Canyon access is the biggest concern.
“I submit that it’s inappropriate for the government to propose a project without having a place to park,” he said.
Jeremy Vlcan of the Carson Valley Trails Association said he agreed that parking is an issue for the trail access.
Access to the Genoa-Foothill Trail System would be at three points according to maps posted on the Carson Valley Trails Association site. The farthest north is at the top of the Eagle Ridge subdivision which accesses a short existing trail. The farthest south would be at the end of Carson Street, though Vlcan said the trail is very steep.
The access that concerned Centennial Drive residents was up Sierra Canyon. There’s a trailhead there, but no parking for hikers. The end of that trail connects to Eagle Ridge and also seven miles up the mountain to connect with the Tahoe Rim Trail.
Residents expressed their preference that no one park along Centennial. It was suggested that perhaps the Genoa Cemetery could be used for parking for the trail system and have people walk up Centennial.
Vlcan said his chief concern was how people would be funneled into the trails.
Two other trails are proposed including one that extends off Old Kingsbury Grade and another that stretches from Highway 50 into Clear Creek and down connecting with Jacks Valley and then running across to Indian Hills.
Resident Bill Hutchison said one of the reasons people were concerned was that they hadn’t heard anything about where the trails were going to go.
Hutchison pointed out that parts of the trail above Centennial are dry and windprone, increasing the chance of fire.
Hutchison said he’s responded to fires set by hikers.
Genoa resident John Pappenfort said he was concerned that smokers along the trail wouldn’t properly dispose of their materials.
“I just don’t trust people to know how to properly put out a cigarette butt or pipe, or a campfire,” he said.
District Ranger Ginny Wilson said public lands above Genoa are open for dispersed camping, but that the Forest Service is working with local governments to move camping away from inhabited areas.
Genoa native Bill Brooks pointed out that with perhaps one exception, no one in the room was there when he used to run around in the mountains.
“Now we have to accommodate all you people,” he said. “I want to see where all these trails are going to go.”
Brooks also pointed out that there would be more parking space available at the top of Carson Street if it hadn’t been abandoned by the town board and the county commissioners.
The Forest Service is hosting another meeting at Jacks Valley Elementary School 6:30 p.m. today.