Riders, rules travel together
Snowmobile riders in the Lake Tahoe Basin have to follow many rules of the trail.
U.S. Forest Service’s Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit regulates everything from registration to where snowmobiles can go.
Gary Weigel, LTBMU’s Off Highway Vehicle Program manager, said two full-time employees respond to several complaints during the winter and issue warnings and citations.
“We had a number of concerned people calling in last fall, early winter,” Weigel said. “(People not obeying the regulations) create a problem not only for the individuals ripping around in low (snow) conditions, but they potentially damage fragile resources and give the impression there’s a lot of lawlessness going on in that recreation.”
Six inches of continuous snow must be on the ground when riding and snowmobiles aren’t allowed on private and ecologically fragile land.
Weigel said citations could run people an average of $50 if they disobey the law.
Weigel said between 35 and 40 green sticker, or lack-of-registration, violations have been handed out this winter.
In-state residents can register off-highway vehicles at the Department of Motor Vehicles.
Enforceable ethics outlined by the Forest Service in National Forest Lands around Lake Tahoe include:
– Avoid riding over small trees and bushes, as well as crossing streams.
– Motorized vehicles are prohibited on National Forest urban lots.
– Show respect for homeowners by keeping “warm-up” time brief.
– Ride only during reasonable hours.
– Be aware of private lands and homeowner boundaries. You must obtain written permission from the landowner to access private lands.
– There must be at least 6 inches of continuous snow on the ground when riding.
– Be considerate of other recreational users, cross country skiers, snowshoers and others who share the same routes.
Where to go: Here’s a list of some trails around the Lake Tahoe Basin
South Shore: Hell Hole (Oneidas Street) – From U.S. Highway 50 in Meyers, take Pioneer Trail 1 1/2 miles to Oneidas Street. Turn right. Park where the snowplowing ends. Follow Fountain Place Road for 3 miles to Hell Hole Road. Turn Right. This trail is not groomed. It’s good for a two- or three-hour trip and provides limited views of Lake Tahoe from the top. Some avalanche danger exists after a storm.
North Shore: Brockway Summit – From Kings Beach take Highway 267 4 miles to Brockway Summit. Limited parking along the highway. Fourteen miles of groomed trails.
Tahoe Meadows: From Incline Village take Mount Rose Highway. Just before the summit, look for a large meadow on the right. Park in the turnout by the meadow. Not groomed.
East Shore: Spooner Summit – Take U.S. Highway 50 to Spooner Summit. Park in the turnout in front of Spooner rest stop. Groomed
East Shore: Blackwood Canyon – Take State Route 89 3 miles south of Tahoe City to Blackwood Canyon Road. Snow park permit is required. Not groomed.
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