Opposition to wilderness areas proposal mounts | SierraSun.com

Opposition to wilderness areas proposal mounts

Tim Omarzu, Sun News Service

GRASS VALLEY – Leave well enough alone and don’t establish two new federally designated wilderness areas in Nevada County.

That’s the gist of a letter sent Tuesday by the Nevada County/Grass Valley Chamber of Commerce to U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-California.

Boxer plans to introduce a bill seeking wilderness designation for 7.4 million acres of California backcountry, including Castle Peak and Grouse Ridge in eastern Nevada County near Truckee.

Wilderness designation forbids the use of mechanized devices, including off-road vehicles and mountain bikes.

The 15-member chamber board feels the designation would be “overly restrictive and the irreversible takings of public lands … (and) could have a negative effect on our local economy,” said Chamber President Mary Ann Mueller.

The real issue is that wilderness designation would favor some recreational users over others, she said.

“Our board just feels there needs to be better communication and more decorum and consideration for others,” Mueller said.

Castle Peak and Grouse Ridge already are designated as roadless areas, and Grouse Ridge isn’t open to motorized vehicles, she said.

“They feel it’s important to leave it alone. Leave it as it is,” Mueller said of the chamber board.

The chamber is also asking the Nevada County Board of Supervisors to oppose wilderness designation for Castle Peak and Grouse Ridge, she said.