Meadows snowmobile ban decision likely |

Meadows snowmobile ban decision likely

RENO (AP) -U.S. Forest Service officials plan to announce a decision in May on whether to ban snowmobiles at a popular Lake Tahoe Basin meadow.

A coalition of cross-country skiers, snowshoers and sledders is asking the Forest Service to prohibit snowmobiles in Tahoe Meadows near the Mount Rose Summit about 10 miles north of Incline Village.

Cross-country skier Gail Ferrell, founder of the Coalition for Safe and Appropriate Winter Sports, contends snowmobiles ruin the outdoor experience for others because they are noisy, polluting and dangerous.

“We are not anti-snowmobiling, but these are not mixed sports,” she said. “If we don’t do something soon, the whole place is going to be a zoo.”

But Greg McKay, an organizer of the Mount Rose Snowmobile Alliance, said the ban is unnecessary because problems can be addressed through increased law enforcement and self-policing.

He insists most snowmobilers obey rules and go out of their way to avoid conflict with other users. Only a small percentage of snowmobilers cause problems, he said.

Forest Service officials said they are committed to change the situation, recognizing that “it will be virtually impossible to make a decision that will make everybody happy.”

Options range from a complete ban on snowmobiles to a partial closure of the meadow. A plan allowing snowmobiles on some days and not on others has been rejected as impractical.

“You like to have folks share the forest to the extent that they can coexist,” said Gary Schiff, chief ranger for the Carson Ranger District. “But once you reach certain levels, people’s tolerance begins to diminish.”

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