Environmental abuse of Greenhorn Creek prompts stronger enforcement | TheUnion.com

Environmental abuse of Greenhorn Creek prompts stronger enforcement

The Tahoe National Forest has re-evaluated its approach to the environmental impacts of public use in the Greenhorn Creek area due to the dumping of abandoned vehicles and other trash.
Submitted photo |

The Tahoe National Forest is implementing the next phase of its strategy to address the environmental damage to the Greenhorn Creek area on the Yuba River Ranger District; enforcement through ticketing.

The Forest Service had identified the area in 2008 as an area of concern due to the public’s use and misuse, and began to actively engage the local community and forest visitors in educating them on why there was a need to address the environmental impacts occurring.

According to Yuba River District Ranger Karen Hayden, an Environmental Impact Statement that was part of the 2010 Forest Motorized Travel Management analysis showed the foothill yellow-legged frog living in Greenhorn Creek and the surrounding area. The species is currently listed as a Forest Service Sensitive Species and California Species of Special Concern. Based on the 2010 environmental analysis, the concern for impacts to sensitive species, and preserving the water quality, a decision was made to close the area to motor vehicles.

In 2014, the Tahoe National Forest published its motor vehicle use maps, which clearly established Greenhorn Creek area as a non-motorized vehicle use area. However, the use of the Buckeye Road crossing was permitted.

However, efforts to educate the public have not proved effective. It seems to have had little impact on the activities that still occur there.

“The amount of trash still showing up is disheartening,” Program Manager Joe Chavez said. “Burned and abandoned vehicles and trailers, discarded household appliances used for target practice, abandoned campfires, litter, garbage, and recyclables are still a problem.”

The next phase is enforcement.

Law enforcement and forest protection officers have increased surveillance and patrolling.

“We want the public to know that in order to protect natural resources, the Forest Service will not hesitate to issue tickets to violators,” said Hayden.

Hayden said the public is still welcome to recreate in the area.

“They can park within the Buckeye Road crossing area defined by the arrangement of boulders,” she said.

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