We asked Ann Westling, of the Tahoe National Forest, about access to Dredge Mine.
Here is the reply:
There are several pieces of private land near the Dredge Mining claim that affect public access. One would need permission from the landowner who owns the land immediately off of Highway 49 to gain access to the National Forest, mining claims and the river. Several years ago, the owner of an additional piece of private land requested and was given a special use permit to use and gate (not yet installed) the road on National Forest that accesses his property. It will be up to him to maintain the road and access.
Regarding travel management, we are completing a Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement (SDEIS) for Travel Management. The SDEIS is expected to come out later this winter for public comment. In the travel management SDEIS, several alternatives will display a different set of unauthorized roads that would be added to the system. The roads on the National Forest at the Dredge Mining claim are not part of the current system of roads nor are they included in any of the alternatives for the Draft EIS due to lack of public right-of-way across private land. After the final decision is signed, anyone driving on roads that are not part of the system could be cited. These roads would be available, however, for non-motorized use such as hiking or mountain biking, with the permission of the landowner.
The entrance of the road will not be destroyed nor will it be blocked by the Forest Service. The temporary gates that were installed while the hazardous materials were being removed have been taken down.
There are various levels of maintenance for National Forest System roads – some more highly maintained than others. Level 1 roads are those that have been closed but not obliterated due to anticipated needs at a later date. Level 2 roads are those that are maintained for high clearance vehicles – such as jeeps or dirt bikes and are rugged roads. Maintenance levels 3 – 5 roads refer to those that may be graveled or paved and suitable for passenger vehicles at higher speeds. But all roads in the system are to be maintained to their appropriate level for public safety and to protect the National Forest resources including soil and water quality.
For the other questions –
The buildings at the Dredge Mining claim were removed. The old excavator will also be removed after the site dries out later this spring.
There will not be a public hearing regarding the Dredge Mining claim.