NID exploring alternative trail option at Scotts Flat | TheUnion.com

NID exploring alternative trail option at Scotts Flat

The spillway at Nevada Irrigation District's Scotts Flat reservoir is open for pedestrian crossing, but it may not remain that way for long.

The district is considering building a new trail across Deer Creek below Scotts Flat and closing the spillway for good.

That idea is still in the planning stages, NID's Assistant General Manager Greg Jones said Monday.

The district built a fence along the spillway, preventing pedestrian access this summer in response to what it called public safety concerns at the site, including campfire remains, illegal campsites, excessive trash, vandalism to timber operator equipment, and others.

But when some community members expressed concern about NID blocking what they said was their only easy access to the other side of the reservoir and nearby trails, the district agreed to temporarily open the fence and allow pedestrian traffic.

In the long term, though, NID says the spillway will likely need to be secured.

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According to Jones, California's Division of Safety of Dams recommended the district improve the safety of the site. The safety of reservoirs in California has been under increased scrutiny by state officials following the failure of the Oroville Dam spillway in February, according to NID staff.

The fence blocking pedestrian access was NID's response to that recommendation, Jones said.

The district held a public workshop in October, when community members brainstormed ways of addressing the safety concerns at Scotts Flat while still allowing public access.

NID customers suggested the district hire security guards, install security cameras or allow daytime-only access to the spillway, among other ideas.

Jones said NID is still considering a range of options for the future of the spillway and will continue to meet with community stakeholders about the issue.

The alternative trail, he said, seems to be the district's preferred option, but nothing is set in stone.

To contact Staff Writer Matthew Pera, email mpera@theunion.com or call 530-477-4231.