Friends of Hope Valley


Restoration of Hope ValleyOld Guard Station Restoration ProjectSilver King Creek will not be poisoned Preserving Hope Valley's Basque Oven Forestdale Creek
The Winter Recreation Plan for Eastern Alpine County
New Rules proposed for off-road vehicles(2004)
Lawsuit filed to restore Pleasant Valley Trail Access

Newsletters (PDF)

Fall 2012 Spring 2012 Winter 2012 Spring 2011 Winter 2010 Spring 2010
Fall 2009
Spring 2009
Fall 2008 Spring 2008 Winter 2007
Winter 2006 Winter 2005

Restoration of Hope Valley
A diverse group of volunteers has been actively involved as Stewards working on the Hope Valley Meadow Restoration Project, a project funded by the Sierra Nevada Conservancy, National Fish & Wildlife Foundation, and the Bella Vista Foundation. Its goal is to draft a permit-ready plan to restore this highly visible and well-known meadow. The group is helping with stream flow monitoring, data entry, and photo monitoring.
The Hope Valley meadow is threatened by hydrologic alteration, and the West Fork Carson River has serious erosion along its banks. The overall goal of this restoration project is to restore the full range of services that this ecosystem provides: natural water storage, flood attenuation, cooling and filtering of water, aquatic and riparian habitat, and recreational activities.
Initially, there is a targeted assessment of the meadow’s attributes to determine its hydrologic and ecological function; this information is used to complete possible designs for a meadow restoration plan. Or, this information could suggest that there is no restoration project that its benefits are worth its cost.
The goal of baseline monitoring is to capture changes in Hope Valley’s meadow condition over time and to have a record of information used for the design of a restoration project. Baseline monitoring includes parameters that characterize the meadow surface water hydrology ,the condition of vegetation communities, and the use of the meadow by wildlife for habitat.
To date the Stewards’ work has consisted mostly of the evaluation of the meadow’s surface water hydrology, including the compilation of a record of stream flow over time. This can be determined by measuring the area of water at a given location and multiplying that by the velocity, or how fast the water is moving – giving a measured discharge. Measuring the discharge of water and correlating it with the height of water at several locations develops a relationship of the two and the stream’s flow.
The monitoring also consists of data loggers that can measure the change in water height (pressure) at regular intervals (every 15 min), recording this data to be downloaded periodically. Data loggers also collect water temperature and specific conductivity readings. There are currently three data loggers along the West Fork Carson River in Hope Valley.

Old Guard Station Restoration Project
Sarah Green
The Alpine Watershed Group (AWG) has been working with Alpine County, the Friends of Hope Valley and various other community partners since 2005 to plan a stream restoration project at the site of the former U.S. Forest Service Guard Station along Markleeville Creek. This site has been subjected to significant and repeated flooding over the years. The flood wall which was constructed in the 1930’s to prevent flooding has only resulted in accelerated water flows causing erosion, stream incision and stream bank failures downstream.
The Markleeville Creek Restoration Project will reestablish the natural state of the stream and prevent further property damage as a result of flooding. The project will improve stream side habitat by removing the flood wall and re vegetating the area. This restoration effort will provide various community benefits including utility improvements and public access for recreation such as walking paths, interpretive signege, picnicking and possibly parking. Partners involved in this project include Alpine County, Carson Water Sub conservancy District, Chamber of Commerce, Friends of Hope Valley, Markleeville Public Utility District and the Washoe Tribe.
The project is currently in the design phase of the planning process. Funding for this project has been provided by the California Department of Conservation, the Carson Water Sub conservancy District and the Sierra Nevada Conservancy. AWG and the County have also collaborated on a grant application which would allow the County to acquire the land for restoration purposes.


back to top


In the early 1900’s Fred Dangberg started a sheep camp in Hope Valley. Seven bands of sheep (2,000 sheep per band) spent the summers there, each tended by a sheepherder. Most sheepherders in the west at that time were Basque, expert sheep tenders who were immigrating to the U.S. from their homelands in northern Spain and southwestern France in search of work.

The Dangberg sheep camp headquarters in Hope Valley, still visible still along Highway 89 partway up the Luther Pass grade, included a Basque tender man named Jesus. It was Jesus who in the 1930s was chiefly responsible for the building of the large, authentic bread oven we now hope to preserve.

To preserve this valued treasure the Friends of Hope Valley has been working with the Alpine County Historical Society on a project to relocate the oven to the Historical Society’s museum in Markleeville. This historic oven is a valued part of the history of Alpine County and the west. It reminds us of the role Basque sheepherders played in the history of the Sierra Nevada; preserving it honors their memory.

back to top

Forestdale Creek

Friends of Hope Valley believes that if all facets of the Proposed Project were implemented that it would have a net benefit to the non-motorized community. The following pairs of quiet use and snowmobile opportunities are presented to show the balancing.

Quiet-use opportunity. The Forestdale Creek area up to Forestdale Divide will be closed to snowmobiles when there is sufficient snow at the Blue Lakes SnoPark for snowmobile use. This typically is from early or mid-December through early or early or mid-April. Therefore most of the winter season it will be closed. Prior and after the closure period snowmobiles will still be restricted to the road through the Forestdale Creek area.

Snowmobile opportunity. Improve accessibility of the Monitor Pass area to snowmobiles and open portions of the area that are currently closed to snowmobiles. This will include creating a staging area at Loope Canyon, which is above the current road closure point. This will also afford better access for non-motorized users wanting to access the Heenan Lake area that will remain closed to snowmobiles. The south side of Monitor Pass area will remain closed to snowmobiles when deer are present.

Quiet-use opportunity. The north side (actually it is west) of Highway 88 from Carson Pass to Picketts Junction will be closed to snowmobile use with one exception. That means Crater Lake, Scotts Lake,Red Lkae Peak and Stevens Peak will be off-limits to snowmobiles. The exception is that there will be a route on a road through the area that connects the Armstorng Pass area with the lands in Hope Valley south of Highway 88. This is to allow snowmobilers to ride from South Lake Tahoe to Blue Lakes. The route through the area will get minimum grooming. The purpose of the grooming is to define the route but not create a raceway.

Snowmobile opportunity. Improved snowmobile staging at Centerville. Centerville is located at the eastern winter closure of Highway 4. Snowmobiles currently park here but use is low because there is a section of Highway 4 (called the Flintstones) that is avalanche prone much of the winter. An old road that bypasses the Flintstones would be repaired where it was washed out. Highway 4 from Centerville to Ebbetts Pass may be groomed for snowmobile use.

Quiet-use opportunity. Create a parking area at Red Corral on Highway 88 to increase access to quiet-use terrain north and south of Highway 88. Improved parking at Picketts Junction (Burnside Road). These two parking areas may become SnoParks. Shoulder-parking on Highway 88 will be prohibited over a 4-mile stretch except for several turnouts that allow additional access to the north and south sides of Highway 88.

Snowmobile opportunity. Additional parking, including overnight parking, at the Blue Lakes SnoPark.

Snowmobile opportunity. The pruning of trees and installation of markers along the primitive road from Blue Lakes to Highway 4. This divides the Mokelumne Wilderness into two pieces. Snowmobilers occasionally use this route. These improvements are intended to help motorists stay within the non-wilderness corridor. This snowmobile route will not be groomed.

Proposed Action needs details

Friends of Hope Valley 's review of the NOPA revealed that the document needs more details. Therefore it is extremely important that you take the time to write the Forest Service to express the need for improvements to the description of the Proposed Project.

Back to top

Winter Recreation Plan
The Winter Recreation Plan for Eastern Alpine County now is in the hands of the Forest Service and is presently going through NEPA funding procedures while input and coordination with other agencies is being developed. This project would improve winter recreation experience for both motorized and non-motorized users in eastern Alpine County.
Friends of Hope Valley, in conjunction with other user groups, individuals and agencies, participated in the formulation of this plan, and indeed, our Board President, Debbi Waldear, was instrumental in the genesis of this plan. Essentially, this plan would delineate areas of use, address parking and camping issues as it seeks to enhance the experience for all winter users by presenting a good balance of opportunities.
During the recent comment period, Friends urged the Forest Service to act with all possible speed on the implementation of this plan as well as the need for enforcement once the plan is in place. This winter’s light snowpack and motorized growth has resulted in chaotic use of Hope Valley by snowmobiles. Wilderness incursions in the Forestdale Creek headwaters have been frequent, and the concentration of use by machines is resulting in environmental degradation as well as unacceptable noise levels. Snowmobiles are now being seen in areas where they’ve never been seen before.
Although the initial scoping comment period is over you can still let the Forest Service know how you feel. Ask them to act quickly and stress the need for designated areas for motorized and non motorized users. Express outrage that motorized users are violating wilderness boundaries.

New Rules proposed for off-road vehicles

On July 15 the Forest Service announced proposed new rules for managing off-road vehicles on National Forest lands. The rule would require vehicles to stay on designated routes. While long-overdue, the proposal is weak, unfunded and includes no timetables for completing the designation process.

Comments on the proposed rule are due by Sept. 13, 2004. Please make your members aware of the proposal by circulating or posting on your website the attached Action Alert and sample comment lettter. If you have any questions, please call Karen Schambach at 530-333-1106. Thanks!

Back to top


Former Pleasant Valley trail users asked to come forward

South Lake Tahoe, CA – A lawsuit has been filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California on behalf of the Friends of Hope Valley (FOHV) in an effort to reassert the public’s right to access Pleasant Valley in Alpine County, CA. Past trail users are being sought to appear as witnesses in the case against a private landowner who has shut off access to Pleasant Valley’s trails since 1999.

Pleasant Valley is a beautiful meadow south of Lake Tahoe that for more than 100 years had served as a primary access point into Alpine County’s high country, including the Pacific Crest Trail and the Mokelumne Wilderness Area. Access to Pleasant Valley was gated shut in 1999 by private land owners who no longer wished to have hikers, anglers, and other recreationalists cross their land in order to reach the federal public lands beyond.

In the years that followed, Friends of Hope Valley (FOHV) worked to persuade the Dressler family to voluntarily reopen access to the Pleasant Valley trails for public use, but despite years of attempts to find a resolution, this gateway to public lands remains closed. With no other corrective recourse available, the FOHV has engaged San Francisco law firms Shute, Mihaly & Weinberger LLP (SMW) and Kerr & Wagstaffe LLP and has filed a lawsuit to reopen the trail.

Says Matthew Zinn of Shute, Mihaly and Weinberger, ”This case represents a clear violation of the public’s right to have access to trails where there is a long history of use by the public.”

The public’s right to access public trails, even where they pass through otherwise private land, is firmly established in California state law. Any land in California that was open to public access for five continuous years before 1972 cannot lawfully be closed to public access. There is ample evidence demonstrating many decades of public use of the trails, according to the Friends of Hope Valley.

nual Work Party Day

Hope Valley needs your Help!

Decisions of public officials threaten the scenic beauty of Alpine County. The winter repose of the Sierra, free from the gas driven mechanized vehicle, is vanishing.

Become an Activist of the Friends of Hope Valley. We need a battalion of interested individuals to attend critical meetings and write letters. Be willing to attend meetings held during the week in Alpine County. Give us your email address. We will alert you to important meetings and provide background information for issues of interest to you that will be discussed. Alpine County's policy makers must hear our voice.

We must be proactive, rather than just reactive! print version