South Lake Tahoe's Heavenly Mountain Resort is trying to adapt to climate change by proposing to take out trees and boulders that become obstacles in low-snow years.
Heavenly, which straddles the California-Nevada line, wants to widen a dozen trails and remove potentially hundreds of trees.
"The resort is hoping that by widening some of these trails, it will reduce bottlenecks and improve the skier flow," says Lisa Herron with the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit of the U.S. Forest Service. She says boulders and trees pose hazards to skiers and snowboarders during low-snow years.
"You're out there skiing and there are a lot of obstacles that are buried in the snow," says Herron. "Obviously the more snow you have, the better coverage and the less chance of impacting something on the trail."
The proposal is still under review by the Forest Service. The agency has already determined in a draft assessment that the plan would have no significant environmental impacts. The proposal includes protection of native plants, chipping of large woody debris and selective boulder relocation.
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