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Residents comment on forest plan

by Christy Chalmers, staff writer

Douglas County residents want to make sure an updated forest management plan will protect their views and access to the Sierra Nevada.

The comment period on the Northern Sierra Forest Plan Amendment closed Aug. 31. The plan will cover 500,000 acres of forest land in Northern Nevada and California.

Though more than 2,200 of 2,500 comments focused on snowmobiling at the Tahoe Meadows area near Mount Rose, many Douglas residents want their views and access protected.

“We heard pretty clearly from the community that protecting the scenic integrity of the Sierra Nevada was very important,” said forest planner Dave Loomis. “We think we’ve got a good plan to accomplish that.”

Carson District Ranger Gary Schiff said the new plan shouldn’t mean many changes in existing access along the front of the range.

“We won’t be building any new roads, but the existing ones will remain open,” he said. “We are acknowledging what the existing uses are.”

The updated management plan will cover forest land in Carson City, Douglas and Washoe counties in Nevada and Alpine, Sierra and Nevada counties in California.

Loomis said Douglas residents also expressed concerns about limiting snowmobiles in the Hope Valley area and the possibility of declaring the Carson River a wild and scenic waterway.

Schiff said in 1999 the river will be reviewed separately. At the time, Douglas County and Carson Water Subconservancy leaders had voiced concerns about wild and scenic status.

Loomis said snowmobile riders are worried more restrictions will be put on the Hope Valley area. But most comments focused on preserving the Sierra Nevada views.

“They don’t want to have a bunch of power lines. They want it protected in its natural state,” said Loomis.

Final decisions and an updated plan are expected in 2001.