MARCH 2014 email Update from Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park supervisor Jay Howard:

Dear stakeholders:

We are writing today to notify you that management staff at Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park has completed the process of public scoping and partner agency/organization consultation regarding the TAMBA proposed trail use change on the 8 mile Snow Valley Peak TRT segment that extends from Spooner Summit to Hobart Road. The findings are contained within the attached Park Position Statement.

In discussion with US Forest Service partners we have found that in the case of a contested view from the public of the proposed trail use changes, even with only an informal agreement in place, additional scoping and examination of trail use must be completed by USFS before the current trail use limitations may be altered or reversed. Park staff will continue to work with our USFS partners toward a mutually approved resolution concerning the request to expand trail use on the above affected section of TRT.

In the meantime, grant money has been secured cooperatively by Parks and the Tahoe Rim Trail Association to repair/re-route degraded sections of trail on the affected segment to restore accepted trail standards. Parks has agreed to include TRTA trained crew leaders to supervise any Parks driven volunteer efforts to improve the trail. As well, at a minimum, Parks is asking USFS trail staff to partner with us in this effort, if only to review and supervise.

The Park's Position Statement will be placed in our official Trails Plan. Should any questions arise on this correspondence or the Position Statement please refer to the contacts below.

Thank you for your participation in this (ongoing) process. We will continue to work vigorously and honestly with all affected individuals and organizations on questions of recreational trail use and access.


Jay Howard
Bill Champion

Jay Howard, Park Supervisor
Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park
PO Box 6116
Incline Village, NV. 89450
(775) 831-0494 x229 office
(775) 315-5842 cell
(775) 831-2514 fax

Bill Champion, Park Supervisor I
Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park
Cave Rock Spooner Lake Backcountry Operations
2005 Hwy 28, PO Box 6116
Incline Village, NV, 89450
(775) 831-0494 x224    
(775) 831-2514 fax
(775) 220-3448 cell


UPDATE February 11, 2013: Watch for notice of a meeting to open this trail to mountian bikes.

HERE is the latest PROPOSAL to open the Snow Valley Peak portion of the Tahoe Rim Trail to mountain bikes.

Public Meeting Flier (meeting was held June 7, 2012)

June 1, 2012 email Update from Jay Howard:

The park will be postponing any decision on the Snow Valley section of the TRT in order to do some work on that section of trail. Widening, brushing, etc. We will continue to consider opening that section once the work is done on an odd/even advisory schedule only (similar to the Tahoe Meadows portion of the TRT).

Thank you.

Jay Howard, Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park. (775) 831-0494 x229 office, (775) 315-5842 cell, (775) 831-2514 fax.


Request by TAMBA to open Snow Valley Peak Trail to mountain bikes

TAMBA (Tahoe Area Mountain Bike Association) has submitted a Proposal to Open the entire 8.5 mile Spooner segment of Tahoe Rim Trail to mountain bikes. This is the last segment of the Tahoe Rim Trail (outside the designated Wildernesses, the PCT, and the short portion of the TRT on the Mount Rose Summit Trail) closed to mountain bike use. If you look at their own pictures in their proposal for trail work up by Snow Valley Peak, you can see there is nowhere a horse or bike could go if they were to meet on the trail. There is no room for them to pass on the trail and it is extremely dangerous.
The segment has never been open to mountain bikes and a formal agreement, between TAMBA and the Forest Service & NV State Parks, to leave it closed was made in 1996 to allow one TRT section (especially being near urban Carson City) where horses and hikers could continue to avoid mountain bikers on the TRT.

Other than on TAMBA's website under the "Projects" tab, this proposal has to date not been advertised or publicized but has been in discussions with the trail managing agencies. 

As a result, the Snow Valley segment receives heavy hiker and equestrian use due to being near urban Carson City and Douglas County, the absence of bikes, and the vistas of Lake Tahoe including those from Snow Valley Peak.
Bikes currently ride between Hobart Road and Spooner Lake down North Canyon then get back on the TRT at the Spooner Summit South Trail Head on US50.

You can email your comments or questions to (Park Supervisor) Jay Howard at

FOR THE RECORD: The Official Policy of Back Country Horsemen is that we are working to keep the trails OPEN FOR ALL USERS. This particular trail, however, is one that we believe should be exclusively for foot and hoof traffic due to the nature of the trail, its historical use, and the fact that other multi-use trails already exist in the area.

Snow Valley PeakSnow Valley Peak
Snow Valley PeakSnow Valley Peak

ABOVE: Snow Valley Peak section of the Tahoe Rim Trail. This can be a very scary situation for horses. Encounters with bicyclists, even though not currently permitted on this trail, are not unusual. This section of the trail, part of the Tahoe Rim Trail (TRT), is steep and rocky and affords little room for passing; and no room to recover if a horse spooks. These bicycle riders were polite when yielding the trail and returned to the Ash Canyon trail where bikes are permitted. CLICK HERE for the BCH poster depicting 'What the Horse Sees' in bicycle encounters.



Tunnel CreekTunnel Creek
Tunnel CreekTunnel Creek

ABOVE Four Pictures: These pictures were taken at the dam for Marlette Reservoir not far from the Snow Valley Peak Trail. This section of the Marlette Flume Trail has now been labeled 'NO HORSES' by the same group trying to open the Snow Valley Peak section of the Tahoe Rim Trail. Top Left picture was taken in the summer of 2009, by mid summer 2010 the old 'Marlette Flume Trail' sign had been replaced by a 'NO HORSES' TAMBA sign. Bottom right is a picture of the reservoir taken at the same location. There is no other way to reach Tunnel Creek from this area. Is this what we can expect next for the Snow Valley Peak Trail?




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 and do a word search for "Spooner" especially the horse use on page 9 and the discussion on pages 26-28.




Link to LTNSP Trails Workshop Flier for June 7, 2012

Link to TAMBA Proposal to Open Snow Valley Peak Trail to multi use (Bicycles)

Link to Trail Management Plan for the Tahoe Rim Trail

Link to Nevada State Parks website & guide (Maps and interesting information).

Click Here for a link directly to Nevada Trail Maps

Link to Trail Safety Poster 'What the Horse Sees'.



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  ©Back Country Horsemen of Nevada, Carson Valley Chapter