According to a recent press release by Rex Norman, Public Affairs Officer for the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit (LTBMU) of the U.S. Forest Service U.S.F.S.), the LTBMU would like to remind the general public of some new dispersed camping regulations that were introduced back in the Fall of 2003.
Here are some selected portions from Norman's press release:
"Because of resource and fire protection concerns, sensitive watersheds and areas around streams and residential areas are closed to camping. Campfires are prohibited in certain corridors. These regulations help reduce resource impacts and the potential of human-caused wildfires in remote locations.
Regulations for developed campgrounds remain unchanged.
The new U.S.F.S. forest camping regulations deal with camping outside of developed campgrounds, often called "Dispersed Camping."
Vehicle access dispersed camping is permitted only at designated campsites established in the following areas: Watson Lake, Blackwood Canyon and Buck Lake areas (Note: An additional designated dispersed campground at Luther Pass is closed this season while the B-Line sewer outflow system is being replaced).
Designated dispersed campsites have vehicle access and those sites are marked by a numbered post and a metal ring with a hinged grill.
There is no fee for use of designated dispersed camping sites and all sites are available on a first-come basis.
Campers using these sites are permitted to build campfires using the Forest Service provided campfire rings only.
Camping in any of these designated dispersed camping areas is limited to a maximum of five consecutive days for any one site, with a maximum of fourteen cumulative days of dispersed camping in a calendar year.
Forest campers who wish motorized access using forest roads continue to have opportunities in specifically designated road corridors.
Dispersed camping with motorized access is permitted up to 14 consecutive days in designated sites within these areas: Within 100 feet of the Genoa Peak Road (Forest Road 14N32) from its intersection with the White Hill Spur Road (Forest Road 14N32A), south to its intersection with Logan House Loop Road (Forest Road 14N33); within 100 feet of the Logan House Loop Road (Forest Road 14N33); and within 100 feet of the McKinney Rubicon Road (Forest Road 14N34) from the Off-HIghway Vehicle staging area, west to the Boundary of the Tahoe National Forest.
Campfires in these forest road corridors will continue to be permitted as before with a valid campfire permit.
Backcountry campers using the Tahoe Rim Trail or the Pacific Crest Trail in the Tahoe Basin are required to use portable stoves. They are required to obtain a Campfire Permit, which serves as the appropriate permit for the use of stoves.
Backcountry campers may camp with 300 feet on either side of those trails.
There is no change in camping regulations within Desolation Wilderness Area or Mt. Rose Wilderness Area or within Meiss Country.
Additionally, National Forest developed campground regulations remain unchanged.
Desolation Wilderness hikers planning to use the Eagle Falls Trailhead are reminded that the parking areas will be closed for reconstruction.
Despite the work, the Trailhead will remain open with a trail detour around the work site.
Campers should be aware that future fire season conditions might require temporary fire restrictions or closures to reduce wildfire risks.
When planning a camping trip, contact your local U.S. Forest Service office for information on this, as well as group-sizes, stay-limits, or other details.
Campfire permits, wilderness permits and information on camping regulations, including maps defining areas open and closed to camping, are available at the U.S. Forest Service Supervisor's Office at 35 College Drive, South Lake Tahoe, Calif.
Call (530) 543-2694, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Permits and information are also available at the U.S. Forest Service Visitor's Center at Taylor Creek, just off California S.R. 89, near Camp Richardson.
The Visitor's Center is open daily at 8 a.m. and that center can be reached by calling (530) 543-2674.
Lost Lake/Duck Lake areas:
Camping via trail access will continue to be available. Campers in these areas are not limited to designated areas, and may build and use campfires with a valid campfire permit.
Desolation Wilderness Area:
Backpackers and horse packers continue to be able to camp as before, while traveling on the Pacific Crest Trail in the Desolation Wilderness.
All camping regulations and permit requirements remain unchanged.
Use of camp stoves is required.
Wilderness permits for day and overnight use of the Desolation Wilderness will continue to be required.
Meiss Country and the Mt. Rose Wilderness Area:
Dispersed camping, with non-motorized access, continues unchanged in the Meiss Management Area and Mt. Rose Wilderness Area..
Campfires are permitted in these areas with a valid campfire permit.
The Pacific Crest Trail and the Tahoe Rim Trail:
Backpackers, horse packers and mountain bikers (where permitted) are allowed free dispersed camping up to 14 days, in undesignated sites within 300 feet of the Tahoe Rim trail and Basin portions of the Pacific Crest Trail.
Campers are prohibited from making or using campfires. However, camp stoves or lanterns can be used with a valid California Campfire Permit."
For information, call Norman at the LTBMU at (530) 543-2637.
• Bet Your Favorite Pigeon
Bet your favorite pigeon that he can't tell you which lake in the Desolation Wilderness, from the Meeks Bay Trailhead, contains Mackinaw (Lake) trout.
If he grins and says, "Shucks, that's easy, that lake is Stony Ridge," he, too, could have fished it in an inflatable raft.