Friday, July 10, 2009

Van Sickle park ready to break ground

6/09 tahoe mt. news

By Kathryn Reed

Despite the League to Save Lake Tahoe’s objections, every entity having a role in starting work on the Van Sickle Bi-State Park says the environmental group’s complaints are not valid.
The latest to do so was the California Tahoe Conservancy board on May 29 with its unanimous approval involving its role in the 725-acre project.
The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency and South Tahoe Public Utility District boards said yea to the project in April.
At the CTC meeting the League’s representative, Flavia Sordelet, mostly talked about a court case involving the California Environmental Quality Act and equestrian use. Of the seven audience members who spoke that day, she was the only one against it.
A manager with Forest Suites Inn is for the park, but wants to make sure trespassing and potential vandalism issues are addressed as things progress.
The CTC’s legal counsel said the League’s belief about the CEQA ruling is flawed and not relevant.
Francie Cole, an avid equestrian and local resident, spoke to how this area that starts under Heavenly’s gondola has long been popular with those on horseback.
Mark Kimbrough, executive director of the Tahoe Rim Trail Association, said mountain bikers do more damage than horses.
TRT, a nonprofit, will fund the upkeep of the trail while the Nevada Division of State Parks struggles financially.
Kimbrough said a big issue with TRT users is restrooms, and that this project will add another service for people.
Work is expected to begin near the old barn this summer and be completed in phases, with the first section open July 4, 2010. Most of the park is in Nevada – 575 acres, with 150 in California. Jack Van Sickle donated the Nevada section in his father Henry’s name in 1988. CTC owns the California portion.
This is the only bi-state park in the country.

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