Here is good advice and suggestions from our recently retired USFS partner Steve Hale, who has extensive knowledge of the recreational trails in the Carson Ranger District from all of his years of service. Please review his comments and review the links he suggested.
As Steve noted the TAMBA proposal is off the agenda for the June 7th workshop, but it is not going away. We need our concerns known and in writing. I hope that you all can send in written letters.
Info today from Mark Kimbrough (consulting for this Trail Plan workshop for LTNSP) is that the mountain bike proposal has been dropped FOR NOW due to too much discourse about it. Next week's workshop is looking for what the public wants, other than a few new trails.
I fought unsuccessfully before I retired from the Carson Ranger District, to prepare an EA for the Foothill Trail System in Douglas County to make sure the big picture of the full proposal from Pine Basin to US50 was analyzed for allowable uses to provide optimal recreation experience on the proposed trail segments.
Earlier I had been successful in getting this done for the Rim to Reno Trail System. Soon after I left, the District Ranger issued a non-appealable Decision Memo which allowed all non-motorized uses on the Genoa Foothill Trail portion of the original Foothill Trail System proposal. The approved trails are the Foothill Trail segment from Eagle Ridge Trail head to Genoa and the connector up to the Tahoe Rim Trail. Vehicle parking issues have already arisen at the trail accesses in Genoa. Conflicts between the various users (since no attempt was made by the Forest Service to analyze the best way to manage the trail segments to make them sustainable with minimal user conflicts) will increase with the already growing trail use.
So the bikes are allowed to use the entire new Genoa Foothill Trail System, the new TRT segment being constructed around Daggett Summit/Kingsbury connecting to Van Sickle State Park, and all the new trails in Carson City being promoted by Muscle Power. So I'm sure you're glad to hear that the proposal to open the 8.5 mile segment of the TRT north from Spooner is on hold.
When I was working as the Recreation Specialist, the idea of opening that segment was floated but I never entertained it because there is no public demand for a change of use. Just one user group was the proponent of the change without a demonstrated purpose and need. But as you know, the TAMBA proposal will be reconsidered again in the future when the current discourse subsides.
Another suggestion related to the upcoming Thursday workshop: put into writing any feedback/position you and/or your organization has now concerning any proposal to change management of the TRT Snow Valley 8.5 mile section e.g. opening it to mountain bikes.
Even though it's now been pulled from being specifically discussed as a topic at this week's workshop, the fact that the TAMBA proposal has been reviewed and photographed on the ground with officials from the managing agencies for over a year (and has been formally posted on the TAMBA website) more than likely indicates that the push to open it isn't going away.
In other words, the proposal is not dead by any means, but temporarily not being specifically mentioned on the draft maps being shown in the Thursday's workshop.
By going on record in writing now that you and/or your group opposes changing any of the current/historical allowable uses (you can decide whether to mention or single out the opening to mountain bike proposal) , it establishes a clear position now that will have to be considered (by State Parks and the Forest Service) between now and whenever the proposal inevitably moves forward again.
It will also establish a basis on which to oppose a future proposal when and if you're giving another formal opportunity. Incidentally, as I recall this 8.5 mile section of TRT passes through 3 jurisdictions that should all concur on any management changes, i.e. Carson Ranger District, LTBMU, as well as Nevada State Parks.
Remember that the Forest Service can write non-appealable Decision Memo (DM) for a Categorical Exclusion (CE).
A recent example... a CE was done by the Carson Ranger District for the Genoa Foothill Trail System instead of completing the Environmental Assessment (which results in a Decision Notice and Finding of No Significant Impact), as was originally funded (with privately raised funds contributed to the Forest Service under a Collection Agreement) and intended for that trail system. This has resulted in all non-motorized uses being allowed year round without first defining the purpose and need then doing the complete EA level analysis and developing alternatives for meeting
- recreation trail user needs
- recreation trail supply in the surrounding area
- trail use projections
- social user conflicts
- and sustainable trail impacts from mixing these uses
- as well as trail head parking access and trail use analysis (e.g. trail head and trail use crowding) in the urban recreation environment in Douglas County and the adjoining State Capital in Orsmby County.
You might also want to read the 2010 Tahoe Rim Trail Management Plan at http://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/stelprdb5238370.pdf and do a word search for "Spooner" especially the horse use on page 9 and the discussion on pages 26-28.