Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Old ranch to be bike trail

unedited from may mt. news

By Kathryn Reed

Bill Mosher looks like he may have left his horse hitched out front. But the amount of acreage he has to ride on has diminished.
Some of the land his family settled years ago is about to belong to the California Tahoe Conservancy. The board voted in March to acquire the 125-acre Lyons Ranch East for $6.2 million.
The Lyons owned it in the 1800s. The Barton-Ledbetter-Mosher clan has had it for more than 100 years. Escrow is expected to close in August after four years of negotiations. The state Public Works Board must approve the acquisition as well.
“The property is a jewel and pristine,” Mosher told the board while his cousin Kirk Ledbetter sat next to their real estate agent Deb Howard.
He touched on how he grazed half of the property. Nostalgia filled his voice as he spoke about the views from the highest point and the low points having incredible meadows.
The Conservancy plans to use the property for pubic access and recreation, and to restore the stream environment zone. It’s possible the South Tahoe Greenway bike trail that will link Meyers and Stateline will go through here.
Other Conservancy lots and U.S. Forest Service land surround much of these parcels east of Lake Tahoe Airport.

Walking the property

Private property signs and barbed wire are not deterrents for people who want to access this property. An employee of a well known South Lake Tahoe marketing company jogs by with her dog. A mountain biker is spotted on another link.
This property is already public in the sense that the public is using it. Trails are clearly designated and they aren’t for cattle. No cow paddies are visible. This hasn’t been ranch land for years.
Bruce Eisner, program manager with the CTC, used to live nearby. He is well aware the people living around Sundown Trail in Montgomery Estates consider this acreage their backyard. It is prime land for hiking, jogging and mountain biking.
Quickly it is evident where South Tahoe Public Utility District has moved its export line from the meadow to a trail wide enough for a vehicle.
Mosher was not exaggerating about the views. Mt. Tallac, vistas looking toward Freel Peak, green meadows, a trickling spring – they are there to behold. Various conifers fill the landscape. The Truckee River rumbles alongside Lake Tahoe Airport.
It’s a Kodak moment every several feet.
Old fencing dots the landscape. Some of the wood looks like artifacts. The rusted metal looks like it could cause a nasty infection. For now it is keeping people out of some extremely sensitive land.

Greenway bike trail

Part of this land may one day be a paved bike pathway. It’s part of Alternative 2 in the proposed 9.6-mile South Tahoe Greenway Shared Use Trail Project. Much of this parallels the old Caltrans right-of-way. However, for some reason Caltrans never actually acquired any of this property that is in escrow.
In April two well attended forums were conducted to gauge public sentiment about different routes for the proposed bike path. People had until April 30 to comment.
On the books seemingly forever, the trail would connect Meyers to Stateline near the Van Sickle Bi-State Park – another entity long in the planning stages.
The Conservancy must prepare an environmental impact report, while the U.S. Forest Service and Tahoe Regional Planning Agency need to do environmental impact statements.
Sue Rae Irelan, who heads the project for CTC, did not return phone calls as of press time.
Three alternatives are proposed, with one being to do nothing. Another follows the old Caltrans right-of-way of what could have been Highway 50 but is really the east side of the Lake Tahoe Airport. The other proposal essentially follows Pioneer Trail.
For information about the project, go to
It would be a 10-foot-wide paved path, with 2 feet on either side as shoulders that could be dirt. The maximum grade would be 5 percent. Raised platform bridges would be used to cross stream environmental zones.
“Signage and flashing lights will be used at crossings such as Glenwood Dr., Al Tahoe Blvd., and Pioneer Trail to increase safety,” according to the above mentioned document. “Forest thinning for fuels reduction will occur within a minimum of 150 feet from the trail centerline to allow the trail to serve as a fire break.”
A date for a decision on the project is unknown.

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