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Tahoe-Pyramid Bikeway Map 2013

Lake Tahoe boating season successful; decontaminations double from 2009

Regional officials are touting the effectiveness of a comprehensive watercraft inspection program in preventing the introduction this year of aquatic invasive species into the pristine waters of Lake Tahoe.

Watercraft inspectors managed by the Tahoe Resource Conservation District, in cooperation with Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, performed more than 8,000 boat inspections during the 2010 boating season, officials revealed this week, and a total of 19,000 watercraft launches occurred with Tahoe-specific inspection seals.

Of those numbers, 11 watercraft containing aquatic invasive species were intercepted and decontaminated, officials confirmed

Whitewater park part of Rock Park renaissance

By Martina Beatty • mbeatty@rgj.com • June 7, 2009

Despite a steady rain, about 45 people wore coats and brought umbrellas to join public officials on Saturday to formally celebrate the opening of Sparks' new whitewater park on the Truckee River at Rock Park.

"This is another great day for Sparks," Mayor Geno Martini said. "Everybody talks about quality of life -- well, this improves our quality of life. It's a beautiful thing."

The 31-year-old Rock Park, on Rock Boulevard between Mill Street and Glendale Avenue, has had its ups and downs over the years, Washoe County Commissioner Robert Larkin told the crowd. "Rock Park went from a great park to a not so great park, to now a spectacular park," Larkin said.

Martini extended thanks to state senators Bill Raggio, R-Reno, Maurice Washington, R-Sparks and Randolph Townsend, R-Reno, whom Martini credited as instrumental in helping to secure funding via two state Senate bill appropriations for the $1.25 million project. "They really went to bat for us," Martini said.

He also noted that cooperation from the Reno-Tahoe Airport Authority, which allowed use of its easement as a construction staging area, saved the city money.

When Reno's $1.5 million whitewater park was completed in 2003, tourism and city officials already were moving forward on a Sparks whitewater park. In 2004, Reno-Sparks Convention & Visitors Authority board member Glenn Carano said the Reno whitewater park was "the first phase of continuing down the river."

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Washoe buys two tracts of land for trailheads

December 17, 2008

Washoe County commissioners on Tuesday approved buying 22.2 acres along the Truckee River for trails and open space near Mogul and 1.28 acres in New Washoe City for a trailhead for Washoe Canyon.

The county paid $400,000 for the larger tract on the south side of the Truckee River to Kathleen Carcione. The hilly land will be used for access to U.S. Forest Service lands and connects with the Canepa Ranch property to the west where the county plans to build a trail head. The land was purchased with county and state voter-approved bond sales.

The county paid $154,000 for the small tract to Jay and Rita Stone for a trailhead to link Washoe Canyon to the Galena Canyon. State voter-approved bond proceeds were used for the purchase.

Sierra hikers dispute federal report about declining use of U.S. forests

By Jeff DeLong • jdelong@rgj.com • December 15, 2008

It's what the Incline Village woman loves to do, and she regularly encounters many others -- young and old alike -- who share her outdoor passion. That's why Devine was surprised to learn about a new government report suggesting fewer people are using national forest land these days.

"I talk to people who are hiking and using the trails all the time," said Devine, 46. "That does surprise me." The visitor use national summary report, recently released by the U.S. Forest Service, shows that visits to the country's national forests declined from 204.8 million in 2004 to 178.6 million in 2007, a drop of about 13 percent and a continuation of a trend first noticed several years ago.

In the Forest Service's Region 4, which includes Nevada, Utah and southern Idaho, the report showed a 9 percent decline. Visitors to Nevada's Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, which at 6.3 million acres is the largest national forest in the lower 48 states, also apparently dropped, said Forest Supervisor Ed Monnig.

In 2004, an estimated 2.9 million people visited the forest but the number dropped to 1.9 million in 2007, a decrease of nearly 35 percent.

The government's methods of gauging visitation have varied since efforts commenced in 2000 and the task is a difficult one, Monnig said. "We don't have turnstiles; we don't take tickets," Monnig said. "It's a challenge to determine how many people really use the national forest."

Sierra ski resorts improve environmental ratings

By Jeff DeLong • November 25, 2008

The nation's ski resorts are saving energy and otherwise going increasingly green, improving annual scores for protecting the environment, a conservationist coalition said Monday.

Twelve of 19 ski resorts graded in California showed improvement, with one -- Kirkwood Mountain Resort -- going from an F last year to a B in what one resort operator attributed to better communication with those doing the grading.

The improving trend at many Sierra resorts was largely attributed to expanded efforts to cut energy consumption and install green energy technology, members of the Ski Area Citizens' Coalition said.

"Resorts are walking the talk when it comes to reducing global warming gases," said Patricia Hickson of the Sierra Nevada Alliance, a coalition partner. "We love seeing this green trend."
In the Lake Tahoe area, Alpine Meadows, Boreal Mountain Resort, Homewood Mountain Resort and Squaw Valley USA received A grades. The rest got a B or C, with Northstar-at-Tahoe Resort getting a D.

Since 2000, the coalition has ranked the environmental performance of ski resorts on a numerical basis. Points can be lost for resorts that expand ski runs or build new lifts, snow-making systems or condominiums and added for recycling, supporting renewable energy and expanding mass transit.

The industry has been skeptical of a rating system it says penalizes resorts making improvements on the slopes or base.

"Historically, if you turned a shovel of dirt, you got knocked down," said Bob Roberts, executive director of the California Ski Industry Association. That's the case at Northstar, spokeswoman Jessica Vanpernis said. She said efforts on behalf of the environment, from construction of green buildings to habitat management and mass transit, were far overshadowed in ranking by condominium and hotel construction projects at the resort.

Tahoe National Forest use plan available for comment

Many off-highway vehicle users feel the public comment period for Tahoe National Forest is is too short
By Laura Brown, Tahoe Sun News Service

Two months is too little time to respond to a complicated draft environmental plan for off-road vehicle use on the Tahoe National Forest, area county supervisors, motorcycle and environmental groups said. About 10 people from different groups relayed their concerns earlier this week about the plan at a county supervisors’ meeting.

Released late September, people have until Nov. 26 to review and provide input on the voluminous document numbering more than a 1,000 pages and weighing almost 12 pounds.

“This is an unreasonable amount of information for people to digest and comment on in a short period of time,” said Kyra, a member of the Nevada County Woods Riders. “We need more time.” Disillusioned off-road vehicle users contend the plan omits significant trails used by locals and doesn’t take into account the economic contributions the group provides to the county’s restaurants, motels and gas stations.

Environmental groups argue additional trails should not be added when the existing ones are poorly managed and impacts to water quality, wildlife and quiet recreationists are not being thoroughly enough addressed. So far, about 3,000 letters have been submitted via e-mail, with a majority coming as form letters from the San Francisco-based Wilderness Society, said Tahoe National Forest spokeswoman Ann Westling.

“There’s interest nationally, because a lot of people who don’t live in California visit the Sierra Nevada,” said Stan Van Velsor, a spokesman for The Wilderness Society, which is keeping a close tabs on eight national forests in the state that will release similar documents in coming months. The Tahoe National Forest is the second after Eldorado to release its draft environmental plan.

“That’s why we’re concerned this one be done right,” because it could become a templet for the others, Van Velsor said. Forest service officials are unlikely to grant an extension to the public comment period, because they must meet a deadline for a final plan in March, Westling said.

“It would have to be approved by the regional forester (in Vallejo). Due to the short time periods we’re under, that would be unlikely,” she said.

Long process
In the works for five years, the off highway vehicle route designation process started to address the increasing number of people who drive motorcycles, quads and vehicles criss-crossing the back country.

Interest in the route designation process has been strong, with more than 200 people attending an informational workshop in Nevada City last month.

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Tahoe Rim Trail gets a new, improved section

Emma Garrard / Sierra Sun via Tahoe Daily Tribune
October 3, 2008

The Tahoe Rim Trail added another mile to its 165-mile circumference after rerouting a section of the trail from Tahoe City to Cindercone this summer. The trail was rerouted to make a more environmentally-friendly, sustainable and scenic trail including better erosion control, water quality and protection for wildlife in the area, in particular the protected Northern goshawk, said Jim Backhus, a Tahoe Rim Trail board member and senior crew leader.

The trail, which used to be one of the least-used sections of the Rim Trail, may become one of the more popular, Backhus said. "Once people get used to it, they will find they like it more," he said.

Garrett Villanueva, a civil engineer for the U.S. Forest Service Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit who helped construct the trail, agrees it is more scenic than before. "It has amazing vistas of the lake and the upper Truckee River canyon," Villanueva said.

The trail was built with the help of the Forest Service, Nevada Conservation Corps and Tahoe Rim Trail volunteers. The project was funded by the Southern Nevada Public Land Management Act. Although the Tahoe Rim Trail Association started planning the trail in 2004, it began construction last fall with most of the trail work completed this summer.

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Truckee River Clean Up Day

Saturday, September 27th from 9-12 noon from Verdi through Sparks is the 2008 Truckee River Clean-up Day!! Keep Truckee Meadows Beautiful and Nevada EcoNet are seeking 500 volunteers to clean-up the Truckee River. Volunteers may register at the website below.

If you would like to schedule an interview with KTMB or Nevada EcoNet please contact Lauren Siegel at the below information and we will be happy to join your show to promote this huge community event. Please feel free to pass this poster and press release (attached) to your contacts and media.

Thank you,

Lauren Siegel
Executive Director
Nevada EcoNet

Mussel found on boat hull at South Lake Tahoe

By Jeff DeLong • jdelong@rgj.com • August 28, 2008

A boat encrusted with invasive mussels and about to be launched into Lake Tahoe was stopped in what officials describe as a first-of-its-kind close call. The harbor master at South Lake Tahoe's Tahoe Keys Marina first saw mussels on the stern of a 32-foot cabin cruiser as it was about to be hoisted into the water Friday.

Experts later confirmed the mollusks were quagga mussels, which apparently attached to the vessel while in Lake Mead in late July, said Ted Thayer, natural resource and science team leader for the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency. The boat remains under quarantine as ordered by wardens with the California Department of Fish and Game.

"This is the first one we've actually found that actually had mussels on it," said Jenny Francis of the Tahoe Resource Conservation District, which is leading inspection efforts at the lake.

The incident, Thayer said, makes clear the danger posed by mussel-infested boats and the importance of mounting a program to detect any before they are put into the lake.

"This tells us boats do come from Mead and there may be live mussels on board," Thayer said. "It is both scary and encouraging at the same time."

The vessel owner said it was decontaminated when it left Lake Mead. The area where the mussels were found were near the boat's out-drive sprayed with hot water, Thayer said. That, combined with the time the vessel was out of the water, could mean the mussels were dead when discovered at the Tahoe Keys.

"They could have already been dead, but we decided: better safe than sorry," Thayer said of the decision to put the boat under quarantine. Biologists plan to recheck the vessel Sept. 3 to ensure it is clean and can be released to its owner, he said.

Quagga mussels, previously found only in the Midwest and Northeast, were first discovered in Lake Mead in early 2007 and have since spread to other parts of Nevada, Arizona and Southern California. In January, zebra mussels -- a close cousin of the quagga -- turned up in a California reservoir 250 miles from Lake Tahoe. Both types of mussels could cause widespread problems if they were to become established in Lake Tahoe. The rapidly reproducing mollusks could quickly disrupt the lake's ecosystem, clog drinking water intakes, encrust boats, foul docks and litter beaches with sharp and stinking shells.

In June, the TRPA board approved regulations requiring mandatory inspections of boats being launched into the lake in effort to prevent introduction of mussels.

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