Monday, August 3, 2009

PR -- High Meadows restoration

Date: July 30, 2009

FOREST SERVICE ISSUES DECISION ON TRAILS AND RESTORATION FOR HIGH MEADOW South Lake Tahoe, Calif.-- The Forest Supervisor for the U.S. Forest Service Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit (LTBMU) has issued a decision memo for the High Meadow Restoration Project area near South Lake Tahoe, Calif. Alternative 3 addressed public comment that wanted the unclassified (user-created) Upper Cold Creek trail (ford up to the meadow) location rather than the proposed action trail location. In order to meet the purpose and need of establishing a sustainable trail system that included water quality and resource protection measures, the unclassified Upper Cold Creek trail will be re-routed in seven locations with six of these in the general area of the existing user trail. This will address water quality effects and still provide an experience for multiple users including hikers and mountain bikers. A decision regarding options for the lower portion of Forest Road 12N21 will be delayed due to ongoing discussions with a private land owner who shares a road easement with the Forest Service.
This decision will provide for dispersed recreation, maintain current camping, OHV and over-the-snow vehicle closures, provide access for forest management and restoration activities, access to the main power line to South Lake Tahoe and protection of restored resources. Trail work for hikers and mountain bikers will maintain a high quality experience while addressing water quality concerns.
The decision will implement watershed and ecosystem restoration activities. Vegetation treatments include removal of encroaching lodgepole pine through mechanical treatment of 113 acres and hand treatment of 165 acres. This includes removal of conifers to encourage regeneration of aspen stands. These treatments would be followed by a prescribed underburn in the meadow complex (approximately 350 acres). Watershed restoration work will address over a century of land uses including grazing in the meadow, constructing approximately 8,700 linear feet of new channels and floodplain along the East Fork, and North Fork of Cold Creek within High Meadow. This work will use existing on-site materials and will include re-vegetation of restored streambanks. Beginning this fall, a short-term forest order will close a portion of the project area. The extent of the closure will depend on visitor use and the timing of fuels treatment. This decision is subject to administrative review (appeal) pursuant to 36 CFR Part 215. Individuals or organizations who provided comments or otherwise expressed interest in the proposal by the close of the comment period are eligible to appeal the decision pursuant to 36 CFR part 215 regulations. The notice of appeal must meet the appeal content requirements at 36 CFR 215.14. More information including the full decision memo can be found at: or at the Forest Supervisor's Office, 35 College Drive, South Lake Tahoe, Calif. The office hours are 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

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