USFS seeks input on framework plan |

USFS seeks input on framework plan

Public input is what the Forest Service needs to help decide how to manage the 11 different national forests in the Sierra Nevada.

During an informational meeting in Kings Beach Thursday, the Forest Service presented the Sierra Nevada Framework and asked for public opinion on the eight different proposed management strategies.

“This document has to reflect what you feel and what you want to put up with for several generations,” said Linda Massey, public affairs officer for the U.S. Forest Service, Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit.

The Sierra Nevada Framework proposes eight different management strategies for the 11 different national forests in the Sierra Nevada mountain range.

“Not one of these alternatives is locked in concrete,” Massey said.

The Forest Service has identified alternative six and alternative eight as the preferred alternative.

Both of the preferred alternatives have a strong emphasis on water quality and rank highest in that area over all of the other alternatives. Public comment for the framework ends Aug. 11.

“More than likely, the final alternative will be a blend (of two or more alternatives),” Massey said.

In both alternatives six and eight, off-highway-vehicle use will be restricted to designated routes.

But these designations don’t mean a big change to recreation in the Tahoe Basin.

“It’s certainly different when you look at the whole Sierra Nevada,” said Robert McDowell, deputy for natural resource US Forest Service, Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit.

The entire Framework covers 11.5 million acres and McDowell said the average forest uses may see some changes when they look at the whole forest, but the Tahoe Basin already has many of the regulations the Framework calls for.

“As far as the summer OHV’s there would be no changes in the Lake Tahoe basin,” McDowell said.

Currently, you can’t take off highway vehicles into the forest unless designated.

“It’s also the same with snowmobiles,” he said.

But a new rule that requires no new trails to be designated near many endangered carnivores den sites may affect the Tahoe basin.

“That rule says no new snowmobile routes can be built within five miles of den site for those animals,” said McDowell

The rule is created to protect carnivores like the Sierra Nevada red fox, American marten, wolverine and the Pacific fisher.

These four carnivores were identified in the Framework and under the new alternatives any kind of development, including that of roads, would be prohibited near their dens.

For the average forest user, this framework won’t affect them, said McDowell.

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