Throughout the summer, the members of Trout Unlimited’s Sportsmen’s Conservation Project will be featuring a series of blogs. For more information about Trout Unlimited or to become a member, go to tu.org
• About 20% (20.7 million acres) of California’s total acreage (102 million acres) is national forest.
• Of those 20.7 million acres of national forest lands, about 4.4 million acres, (21 percent) are inventoried roadless areas.
• National Forest roadless areas in California provide some of the finest backcountry hunting and fishing opportunities in the state, and are strongholds for native trout and salmon. Such areas include the headwaters of the Truckee and Little Truckee Rivers, the Pacific Valley area, the upper Kern and Kings rivers (downstream of Wilderness boundaries), and much of the B, X, and D deer zones.
• Only 163,000 acres (less than one percent) of national forest lands in California are recommended for new wilderness designation.
Few places remain wild and pristine enough to produce clear, clean, cold water and sustain wild trout, deer and an abundance of other wildlife—the Meiss Meadows roadless area is one such a place. Straddling the Sierra crest atop Carson Pass, just south of iconic Lake Tahoe, Meiss Meadows offers exceptional hunting and fishing, as well as hiking, backpacking, horse riding, mountain biking and other outdoor recreation.
The 31,100-acre Meiss Meadows roadless area on the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit, Eldorado and Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forests makes up the headwaters of the Upper Truckee River, the primary source of clean water flowing into Lake Tahoe, and provides prime habitat for the Lahontan cutthroat trout – listed as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act.
“The Meiss Meadows roadless area and the Upper Truckee River are critical to the recovery and conservation of Lahontan cutthroat trout in California,” says Roger Bloom, Senior Fisheries Biologist for the California Department of Fish and Game. “Protecting and preserving the habitat in these areas is paramount to the survival and future of this unique California native trout.”
There are no permanent protections in place to prevent off-road vehicle use, mining or other activities that could diminish the habitat. That is why Trout Unlimited of California is leading a grassroots effort, supported by hunters, anglers and local business owners, to seek certain designations and management objectives that better protect and enhance the exceptional habitat found in Meiss Meadows to keep it just as it is today – a great place to hunt and fish.