Task force is planning North Shore bike trail | SierraSun.com

Task force is planning North Shore bike trail

Plans for a bike path from Tahoe Vista to Tahoe City are slowly becoming a reality.

A joint committee of local, state and federal agencies moved ahead last week by seeking requests for qualifications from consultants to complete necessary environmental documents.

“A bike trail is in the top-three interest area in all public workshops we’ve had,” said Steve Rogers, general manager of the North Tahoe Public Utility District. “There seems to be strong community interest in that.”

The district formed the North Tahoe Bike Trail Task Force made up of its staff, the California Tahoe Conservancy, the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency and the U.S. Forest Service to build a paved bike trail from North Tahoe Regional Park in Tahoe Vista to Dollar Point, where it will meet the existing bike trail operated by the Tahoe City Public Utility District.

The task force has met over the past year to work on the project and will meet again in October to interview applicants who are interested in completing the environmental impact report, Rogers said. The planning process will take anywhere from 18 months to two years and there is no specific timeline, yet, he said.

“I am doing a different approach,” Rogers said. “Our objective is working together with funders and permitting agencies. It is a lofty, ambitious goal.”

The district is scheduled to ask the California Tahoe Conservancy for grant money for the project in December. The conservancy is a “critical agency” in the project since the utility district cannot complete the project on its own, Rogers said.

“We are excited in seeing this move forward,” said Ray Lacey, program coordinator for the California Tahoe Conservancy. “The Conservancy has always intended in being the primary funding source for this project.”

Lacey noted that the Conservancy has worked to fund the acquisition of right of ways for bike trails in the Tahoe Basin and for planning and implementation of those trails.

“This link from Dollar Hill to Tahoe Vista is a critical missing link” in building a bike path around Lake Tahoe, Lacey said.

Lacey noted that an environmental impact report of “this magnitude” can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The proposed nine-mile route would traverse around the perimeter of the unincorporated communities of Agate Bay, Carnelian Bay, Cedar Flat and Dollar Hill. The route would “allow for various trail nodes to connect the residents of those communities to the main bike trail route,” according to the document.

Rogers said the task force will work together on the project to develop a consensus and to build a time frame.

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