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Tahoe Tree Cutting Plan Criticized

A U.S. Forest Service plan to cut nearly 1,500 acres of trees on Lake Tahoe’s west shore to reduce wildfire threats has been criticized by environmentalists.

They say the forest thinning program is being abused to remove larger, commercial-sized timber in Ward Canyon, a scenic area popular with hikers, mountain bikers and cross country skiers.

Plans call for hand thinning of trees up to 10 inches in diameter on 914 acres, and mechanical harvesting of live trees up to 24 inches and dead trees up to 30 inches in diameter on 452 acres.

That’s a change from the Forest Service’s original environmental impact document last year, which called for only hand thinning of trees from eight to 10 inches in diameter.

Forest Service spokesman Scott Parsons says the plan was modified to conform to the 2001 Sierra Nevada Forest Plan Amendment.