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|10-10-2004, 10:58 AM||#1|
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Oakley, CA
Snowmobiles Can Still Use Hope Valley (For Now)
Judge scraps Hope Valley snowmobile ban
<mailto:email@example.com> Jeff DeLong
There is not enough evidence of conflicts between cross-country skiers
and snowmobile riders to justify closing part of a popular valley south
of Lake Tahoe to snowmobiles as demanded by environmentalists, a federal
judge has ruled.
U.S. District Judge David Levi found that neither the Forest Service nor
the Friends of Hope Valley have documented a problem serious enough to
warrant a snowmobile ban in the Forestdale Creek Road area of Alpine
"The court declines to deny access to public lands to any group of
citizens based on surveys that do little more than ask skiers if they
like snowmobilers," Levi wrote in his Sept. 30 decision in Sacramento.
In the latest move of a 12-year-old conflict, Levi sided with
environmentalists. He found that the Forest Service had failed to
adequately address environmental impacts of snowmobiles in a management
plan update for the area and that there is insufficient evidence to
justify the snowmobile crackdown sought by environmentalists.
The judge also ruled that Forestdale Creek Road is under the
jurisdiction of Alpine County - not the federal government - a
conclusion environmentalists described as a setback in efforts to
segregate snowmobiles from quieter types of winter recreation.
"I think it is really disappointing," said Debbi Waldear, president of
Friends of Hope Valley. "Now that it's considered a county road it
probably will not be closed (to snowmobiles). At this point it's going
to be really difficult to keep it for skiers only."
Pliny Olivier, president of the Lake Tahoe Snowmobile Association,
welcomed the ruling for those enjoying a sport he said is under
increasing attack by the government.
"It is what we hoped for," Olivier said. "We never did see a real
The conflict dates back to 1992, when the Forest Service initiated
efforts to update management strategies for the Forestdale area,
including the road used to access terrain used by both skiers and
snowmobile riders. Critics at the time cited a growing conflict between
snowmobiles and backcountry skiers and insisted the area be closed to
When the Forest Service declined, environmentalists sued, first in 1997
and after that suit was settled, again in 2000. The Forest Service
attempted to reach a compromise several times, last year proposing a
partial closure in a plan rejected by the Alpine County Board of
In finding that the Forest Service failed to comply with the National
Environmental Policy Act with regards to studying the impact of
snowmobiles, the issue has come full-circle, District Ranger Gary Schiff
said. The judge remanded the issue back to the Forest Service for
"We're going to have to go back to the drawing board for a third time,"
Schiff said. "Our interest is providing quality experiences for both
snowmobilers and cross-country skiers. Obviously, we have yet to achieve
This time around, the Forest Service likely will try to focus on an area
larger than Forestdale, Schiff said. By examining all of Hope Valley or
an even larger area of Alpine County, spots that could be set aside for
motorized and non-motorized winter sports might be successfully
identified to everyone's satisfaction, Schiff said.
"The only way to resolve this without continued administrative appeals
and litigation is for reasonable people to come together in a reasonable
way," Schiff said.
Both Waldear and Olivier said they would participate in talks addressing
winter sports across a wider area of Alpine County.
But snowmobile riders are not interested in losing more ground in Hope
Valley for their sport, Olivier said.
"We understand that for some people, having a snowmobile in the area is
not acceptable for their outdoor experience," Olivier said. "But some
people want motorized vehicles completely eliminated, and we consider
Waldear said she hopes some compromise is possible.
"There is room for both activities, but there's a conflict when they're
together," she said.
Copyright C 2004 The Reno Gazette-Journal
|10-11-2004, 08:36 AM||#2|
Damn Tree Huggin Hippies, tell me something, do these enviomentalists ever go out and actually do the clean-ups on the trails, or do they just drive their jettas eat tofu, and think of ways to fuck with people that could easily use them as hood ornaments? I know the people here in texas fighting land access are not the Hippies, but instead are the greedy land owners, that do not want to give up an inch of their property, but would like to do nothing but gain more property, who cares if the land was given to the State, for use as Public land, but they try to look over that fact.
"Imagination is more important than Knowledge." -- Albert Einstein