Sierra Pacific Industries (SPI) and Mountainside Partners announced yesterday that landowner SPI would be selling a 120-acre parcel that was slated to be the site of Brockway Campground, a Mountainside Partners project. If the sale is completed, the land will become part of the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit of the U.S. Forest Service (USFS).
“We are moving forward with this sale to ensure land SPI owns within the Tahoe Basin remains accessible to the public forever,” said Blake Riva, managing partner of Mountainside Partners in a news release. “Although an improved campground is permissible under current zoning and would provide significant recreational benefits, we have listened carefully to the community and have decided that the parcel should be permanently protected through a sale to the Forest Service.”
The 120 acres sits on a ridge above Martis Valley and at one point was tied into the proposed Martis Valley West development with 112 residential units planned for the land, which sits inside the Basin. In January of last year, Mountainside Partners withdrew the parcel from the project.
In yesterday’s announcement, SPI and Mountainside said that California Tahoe Conservancy facilitated the discussion and that SPI and the U.S. Forest Service have exchanged willing-buyer and willing-seller letters to complete the sale by the end of 2017.
“This acquisition shows how the partnership between the California Tahoe Conservancy and the US Forest Service, along with Sierra Pacific Industries, can result in significant benefit to the public we serve,” said Jeff Marsolais, Forest Supervisor of the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit in a press release. “The parcel is one of the last remaining undeveloped large parcels of private lands in the Lake Tahoe Basin and will result in a contiguous block of National Forest System Lands.”
The land is being purchased under the Santini-Burton Act of 1980, in which Congress authorized the Forest Service to acquire environmentally sensitive lands in the Basin. To date, over 3,500 parcels (or Urban Lots) totaling 13,000 acres valued at $105 million have been acquired under the Act. Allowed uses on Santini-Burton purchases are restricted to dispersed recreation and limited erosion control projects, said Robert Rodman Jr, USFS Lands Program Manager. Dispersed recreation is activities that take place outside of developed camping or concessionaire-operated facilities, excluding motorized recreation. No resorts, campgrounds, or developed recreation will be allowed on this land should it be purchased, Rodman said.
The Brockway Campground application will remain active at Placer County while the USFS conducts an appraisal and other pre-acquisition activities. Upon completion of the appraisal, SPI will enter into a purchase option with the USFS. Mountainside Partners and SPI will withdraw their campground development application once the land is sold, according to the news release.
The announcement to keep this land permanently protected comes less than a week before Martis Valley West goes before the Placer County Board of Supervisors. Some are asking Mountainside Partners to keep the MVW potential impacts in mind.
"The developers must still do more to address threats to Lake Tahoe from the Martis Valley West project’s estimated negative impacts from traffic and related pollution,” said Darcie Goodman Collins, executive director for the League to Save Lake Tahoe.
~ The Placer County Board of Supervisors hearing for Martis Valley West will be held Sept. 13 at the North Tahoe Event Center in Kings Beach, starting at 9:45 a.m.