Truckee residents offer input on USFS Roadless Initiative
Although few turned out for the 3 p.m. Roadless Initiative comment meeting at Tahoe-Truckee High School on June 27, some Truckee residents gave their opinions on the U.S. Forest Service’s proposal.
“This meeting gives people the opportunity to speak on the record,” said Diane Minutilli, a public affairs technician. “Their comments are recorded by a court reporter, compiled and turned in as public record. The comments will be used to select a final alternative.”
Phil Horning, a representative from the Forest Service, explained the approach of the Roadless Initiative as one that will not affect the legal rights of access or mining rights, but it will prohibit new road construction and reconstruction in present areas where there are no roads.
“There are two ways to go; no action or preferred alternative,” said Horning. “No action offers no prohibitions. Preferred alternative prohibits road construction and reconstruction on roadless areas.”
At the roadless comment meeting, Truckee inhabitants represented both sides of the slate.
Some said that more control of the forests was necessary while others made evident that they thought the Forest Service should not make any changes and roads should be built as needed.
The first two speakers, LIsa and Jeff Wallace, shared the same sentiments.
As avid outdoors people, they voted for Alternative 4, with added protections. Alternative 4 prohibits road construction, reconstruction, and all timber harvest in the unroaded portions of inventoried roadless areas.
“Alternative 4 with added protections reflect my concerns,” said Lisa Wallace. “I want no new roads, no logging, no mining, no off road vehicles. The Forest Service should choose for the health of the people.”
Lisa Wallace also said she believes that Alternative 4 protects the economy as well.
She stated that the $134 billion in use by the Forest Service is from hikers, bikers and boaters, not loggers. Wallace stated that she would like an increase of protections by the Forest Service.
Her husband agreed with her ideas.
“Even if I can’t use some of my favorite places, I came here for the richness of the wildlife too, which suffers when new roads are opened,” said Gregg Wallace. “I would like Alternative 4 with added regulations to be implemented.”
On the other hand, Gregg Murtha, marketing director of Sugar Bowl ski resort, argued that many of the Initiative’s alternatives are restrictive to people who use public lands.
“We need to allow roads to be built as needed,” Murtha said. “The Forest Service should continue to do their job as they have been doing, without making any changes.”
Steve Davis of Truckee stated that believed it to be better if everything was left alone as well.
“This is public land,” Davis said. “People have been using the land for hundreds of years, so with good management technology, everything should stay the same.”
Davis stated that he voted for Alternative 2, which prohibits road construction and reconstruction in the unroaded portions of inventoried roadless areas.
Davis also expressed concern for more management.
“I am fearful of the Forest Service policy and new planning regulations because I fear new policies will take a strange turn and that the public might eventually receive more management than they anticipated,” Davis said.
The US Forest Service is accepting comments on this issue until July 17.
The public is asked to comment by mail, fax or electronically. For more information, call (800) 384-7623.
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