Forest Service Plans Eliminates Some Tahoe Trails

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A new Forest Service plan will eliminate nearly 13 miles of trails in two popular Lake Tahoe recreation areas and prohibit mountain bike riders from leaving established trails.

The plan under study for about two years involves mostly non-motorized use and covers the Freel and Meiss management areas in the southern and southeast portions of the Tahoe Basin.

Although some trails would be eliminated, Forest Service officials said 63 miles of managed system trails will remain.

The ruling was released last week and is subject to appeal.

Officials said the goal is to reduce the creation of informal trails and damage to meadows, streams and creeks.

A key element of the plan is to prevent bicyclists from taking cross-country shortcuts by using non-system trails.

"These are very sensitive environmental areas, and it's essential for mountain bikers to keep to system trails," said Rex Norman, spokesman for the Forest Services Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit.

But officials said the goal is also to reduce impacts from all users, including hikers and horse riders.

"What has happened is that spider web trails have developed," Norman said. "These trails aren't properly designed or maintained and can lead to major erosion problems."