New Wilderness in Lyon County

About a year ago, we attended a fund-raiser reception for Senator Dean Heller at the Peppermill Hotel Casino in Reno, NV. Among the attendees were representatives of the various OHV user groups such as Blue Ribbon Coalition, the Trail Pac, several land use advocates and motorcycle groups.
Senator Heller spoke about his background, including the fact that his father owned a Jeep and that the family had many enjoyable outings in that vehicle.  He told of his absolute commitment to multiple use of public lands. However, further in his speech, he told us about the need to convey a parcel of BLM administered land to the City of Yerington so that it could be used for infrastructure to support the Pumpkin Hollow Copper Mine.  When this mine is in full operation, it will employ about 100 workers at an average wage of $70,000 dollars per year.  Since Lyon County has been severely victimized by the current economic downturn (recession), these jobs are desperately needed.  At that time, he said that he feared that Senator Harry Reid would demand creation of a Wilderness Area in exchange for supporting a bill conveying this land. On Monday, June 17, the Senate Energy and National Resources Committee heard S. 159 by Senators Heller and Reid which supported the land exchange and designated 48,000 acres as the Wovoka Wilderness, mostly in the southern Pine Nut and Sweetwater mountain ranges. For years, Lyon County residents, user groups and other land use advocates overwhelmingly opposed the creation of Wilderness in this area.  The Lyon County Board of Supervisors even passed a resolution that there would be no further Wilderness in Lyon County.  Subsequently, because of the need for the land conveyance and the jobs issue, the Lyon County Supervisors had to retract their resolution. Also considered was the House of Representatives bill by Representative Steven Horsford and supported by Representatives Joe Heck and Mark Amodei which is the companion bill to S. 159. Harry Reid, in his usual underhanded way, is holding this important land transfer for RANSOM. At this time N4WDA is awaiting maps showing the boundaries of this Wilderness area. Therefore, although N4WDA is fundamentally opposed to the creation of designated Wilderness areas, we are taking a wait and see position until the entire impact of this bill is understood. Larry Calkins, President N4WDA

Eldorado NF 42 Trails SDEIS Decision Released

This morning, Eldorado NF Supervisor Kathryn Hardy held a telephone conference with interested user groups, including the Nevada Four Wheel Drive Association, to reveal her decision on the 42 Trails Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement (SDEIS). These trails have been closed subsequent to a Federal court order that closed these trails that cross or are in close proximity to wet meadows.  On May 26, 2111, U.S. District Court Senior Judge Lawrence Carlton found that the Eldorado NF failed to comply with the National Forest Management Act when it designated 42 existing wheeled motorized vehicle routes that cross portions of meadows with their 2008 Public Wheeled Motorized Travel Management Decision. The order stated that the Forest Service failed to complete a required Riparian Conservation Objective analysis for standards and guidelines in its Land and Resource Management Plan pertaining to segments that cross wet meadows. The Eldorado NF then developed its SDEIS which was released on February 19 day comment period. These 42 trails include the Barrett Lake Trail, Deer Valley/Clover Valley trail, Mormon Emigrant/Long Valley Trail, Strawberry Pass trail, to name a few.  These are the trails closest to the Reno/Carson City/Gardnerville areas and have some of the best Sierra Nevada 4 wheeling. The SDEIS provided four alternatives for comment: Alternative #1 (the Proposed Alternative):  Open the closed trails and perform mitigation of the meadow  issues later as time/money allows. Alternative #2:  These trails remain permanently closed. Alternative #3 (the Preferred Alternative):  Prioritize the problems and reopen the trails as these problems are mitigated. Alternative #4:  The trails remain closed until all problems on all trails are mitigated. N4WDA submitted a comment letter supporting Alternative #1 as did virtually the entire off road community. The 45 day comment period closed on April 8th make a decision on which, if any, of the alternatives would be chosen. Today’s telephone conference revealed that 24 of the 42 trails have been designated as open due to no problems with meadows or that the wet meadows were on private land, etc.  This left 18 trails designated, but remaining closed.  She stated that she had chosen Alternative #3, the Preferred Alternative, and that the closed trails have been prioritized and that the mitigation efforts will move forward as time and money allow.  She did say that volunteer help had been offered and would be considered. She estimated that these trails, or portions of trails, would remain closed this year.  It is very likely that it will be several years before all of the remaining trails are reopened. The Nevada Four Wheel Drive Association asks that all 4 wheel drive enthusiasts respect the decision of the Eldorado NF and comply with the closures.  Maps are available at Forest Service Stations showing current closures and open 4 wheel drive and OHV opportunities. Larry Calkins, President N4WDA

News

N4WDA is just getting off the ground as of April 2013 with a Facebook page. We are looking immediately to enlist a few key “charter starter” businesses to be our founding members and supporters. For a one-time $500 donation, your business will be listed on our future web pages and of course these pages, as a lifetime founding charter business that helped NV get organized and ready to save trails and keep the sport alive.

Corporate charter received Feb. 14, 2013. N4WDA is a Nevada 501.c7 organization.

Our President, and contact person is Larry Calkins, long time four-wheeler and backcountry explorer, as well as dedicated advocate for motorized recreation. Past President of the CA4WDC to boot! Reach Larry at nevada_4@yahoo.com.
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