Federal officials are taking to the air to nab snowmobile riders who trespass in protected wilderness areas in the Sierra.
Two Sacramento-area men were cited after the pilot of a U-S Forest Service plane spotted them snowmobiling in the Mokelumne Wilderness south of Lake Tahoe. Forest officers on the ground issued the men tickets February 12th near Upper Blue Lake in Alpine County.
Motorized vehicles are not allowed in federal wilderness areas created by Congress. The agency did not identify the men, who could be fined between
$500 and $5,000 and face up to six months in jail if convicted.
The Forest Service also uses an airplane to patrol the Desolation Wilderness above Lake Tahoe´s southwest shore. And the plane checks other nearby areas off limits to machines, including Freel Peak, Meiss Meadows and Loon Lake.