Forest Service Buys Sensitive Tahoe Land

Lake Tahoe
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The U.S. Forest Service has acquired a 284-acre parcel of land on Lake Tahoe's west shore for $9.8 million.

The property had been an undeveloped part of the privately owned Homewood Mountain Resort but not part of its ski facility.

The land is considered environmentally sensitive because it contains several springs and four streams that empty into Lake Tahoe, said Gary Weigel, a spokesman for the Forest Service.

"The owner had some options of developing it into estate home sites," Weigel said. "The Forest Service did not want to see the property developed."

Under the agency's management, the land will be available to the public for non-motorized recreation and will remain undeveloped.

The purchase also allows for consolidation of Forest Service land to the north and west of the ski resort, which makes it easier to manage, Weigel said.

Funds to buy the land were generated from the federal Santini-Burton Act, which allows proceeds from the sale of federal land outside Las Vegas to go toward the purchase of sensitive land at Tahoe.

Since the act took effect in 1980, the Forest Service has acquired more than 3,500 parcels valued at $130 million.

In one of the largest deals, the agency acquired the nearly 1,800-acre High Meadow area on Tahoe's south shore from a longtime Nevada family for $29.5 million in 2003.

The Forest Service manages about 80 percent - or 160,475 acres - of the land in the Tahoe Basin. Including the lake's surface, the basin has 300,000 acres.