Lake of the Woods rehab receives local support
A restoration effort at Lake of the Woods is underway bolstered by nearly $36,000 in grant funding and local contributions to improve the scenic shore line.
Extensive damage has been wrought by campers who have created roads, trails and built illegal fire rings around Lake of the Woods, located northwest of Truckee off Highway 89 north on Jackson Meadows Road.
“There’s no management up there,” said Sam Wilbanks, the Tahoe National Forest’s Sierraville District ranger. “It’s showing wear-and-tear when everyone wants to camp in the same spot.”
Volunteers from the Truckee River Watershed Council, Loyalton High School, Northern Nevada Council of the Boy Scouts of America, and the Treasure Mountain 4-H Club helped the U.S. Forest Service accomplish restoration projects to create clear campsite boundaries.
On Oct. 7, 65 Boy Scouts, including members of troops from Sierraville, Loyalton and Truckee, built 600 feet of pole fencing along the lake’s edge to keep vehicles from parking too close to the shore. Approximately 22 visitor-created fire rings containing aluminum, pieces of glass and trash were removed, said Rick Maddalena of the Truckee Ranger District.
The fencing will redirect recreational activities at Lake of the Woods to keep people away from the most sensitive areas, Wilbanks said.
Long-time visitors of the popular camping and fishing location used to back their vehicles as close to the water as they could, Maddalena said. Wilbanks said he worried campers would not respect the new boundaries made with the fencing.
After the fencing was constructed there were reports of vandalism when members of the Forest Service discovered the rope that anchors the fence in place had been stolen, Wilbanks said.
However, the restoration effort continued on Oct. 15 during Truckee River Day with more local volunteers and members of the Treasure Mountain 4-H Club constructing another 120 feet of fencing and helping to spread pine needle mulch over heavily-used areas.
“I don’t think we could have done it without the volunteers,” Wilbanks said.
Ten designated campsites, fire rings, and wooden tables will be ready for campers to use by next summer. Loyalton High School students will refinish the ten tables in their wood shop class, Maddalena said.
With all the improvements to Lake of the Woods, the cost of camping is still free, Wilbanks said.
Recreational funding for Tahoe National Forest projects is very limited since the priority has switched to forest fire prevention, Wilbanks said. A grant of $17,700 from the Sierra County Resource Advisory Committee and contributions from the Forest Service, Truckee River Watershed Council and other local organizations made the project possible.
Maddalena said he has already seen results from the restoration work, combining an educational component with a clear message of preservation to the community.
“I’m very confident that we’re going to get there,” Maddalena said.