US Forest Service - Lake Tahoe Basin Mgmt Unit (CA/NV)

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US Forests in California:

Angeles Inyo Lassen Modoc Sequoia Six Rivers
Cleveland Klamath Los Padres Plumas Shasta-Trinity Stanislaus
Eldorado Lake Tahoe BMU Mendocino San Bernardino Sierra Tahoe

Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit (TMU - Forest #19) "Camino" KMB 6-6-0

The establishment of Forest Reserves began with the passage of the Forest Reserve Act of 1891, allowing Presidents to establish Forest Reserves by proclamation. In 1899 President William McKinley created the Lake Tahoe Forest Reserve, including the core of the National Forest land in the Tahoe Basin, an area of about 37,000 acres, following the decades of logging for the Comstock mining boom. None of this acreage included any of the shoreline. About 8 years later three separate forests were developed out of the reserve, the Tahoe, Eldorado and Toiyabe National Forests. Each of these forests extended into the basin and managed separate sections.

By the mid 1960s nearly 70 years of National Forest management resulted in the acquisition of a significant amount of land added to the public ownership. Acquisition of environmentally sensitive lands is one important way to protect the lake. By the early 1970s the acreage of publically owned land in the basin had increased from 37,000 acres to 154,000 acres, some of which is located on the lake's shoreline. This additional land was acquired through land exchanges and purchases funded by the Land and Water Conservation Act of 1965.

In 1973, this most unique area of America's National Forest System was established. The establishment of the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit (LTBMU) was not really the creation of a "new" National Forest, but rather an administrative re-organization of National Forest lands that had already existed in the Tahoe Basin since 1899. Up until the unit was created, the management of National Forest land was split up between 3 ranger districts, the Lake Valley (Eldorado), Truckee (Tahoe) and the Carson (Toiyabe) Ranger Districts, on 3 National Forests, the Eldorado, Tahoe and Toiyabe National Forests, in 2 different Forest Service regions, the Pacific Southwest Region (R5) headquartered in Vallejo and the Intermountain Region (R4) headquartered in Ogden, Utah. The pressures of growth, increased recreation use and water quality degradation in the basin created significant issues that made coordination between the 3 units difficult, if not impossible, and at the least inefficient. The National Forest land in the basin needed one voice. A decision was made by the Forest Service to administratively place the basin portion of these 3 units under a one Forest Supervisor and call this consolidated organization the "Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit." The name "Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit" was originally a temporary one, but after 4 decades, the name remains. Several attempts have been made since to establish the "Lake Tahoe National Forest," but a bill doing such has never passed. The boundaries of this unit follow the watershed boundaries of the upper Truckee River and Lake Tahoe, which is the crest of the ridge around the lake, with a short gap where the Truckee River flows down canyon from the lake.

The LTBMU is responsible for the conservation, preservation and restoration of the Lake Tahoe watershed ecosystem on National Forest lands. Projects and programs also include habitat, fire management, and urban lot management. Additionally the LTBMU provides and maintains high quality recreational opportunities for millions of visitors and residents annually.

Compared to other National Forest land the LTBMU is small, yet it is the Tahoe Basin's largest land manager, responsible for 78% of basin lands. As such the Forest Service has the largest single role in ecosystem and watershed management and protection. The LTBMU is a part of the National Forest System, yet is managed somewhat differently than other National Forests. Many common forest activities such as mining, grazing or timber harvesting are either not a part of LTBMU management or play a very small role. Since the lake is so dependent on all that happens around it, LTBMU programs manage the whole of the basin as a complete inter-dependent system. The LTBMU is a unique inter-mix of forest and urban communities, presenting challenges and complexities few other National Forests experience. Since its establishment in 1973, the LTBMU has become a pioneer and leader in the science of forest and ecosystem management. The work of the Forest Service supports and is supported by many partners. Other federal, state and local agencies are working together in the effort to face challenges, conserve and restore natural and cultural resources, and enhance the recreational values of the Lake Tahoe Basin.

The purchase of sensitive parcels of private land for public ownership is more important than ever. In December of 1980 the Santini-Burton Act passed, which places the revenue from the sale of federal land in the Las Vegas Valley into a fund for land purchases and watershed restoration in the Lake Tahoe basin. Land in individual urban lots began to be purchased and to date, over 3,500 parcels (or Urban Lots) totaling 13,000 acres valued at $105 million have been acquired. As of 2014 National Forest land ownership has increased to 160,000 acres with 18% of the 72 miles of shoreline now part of the LTBMU.

Old growth forest in the Lake Tahoe Basin is rare due to extensive logging that supplied the Comstock mines with bracing for shafts, fuel and building material. About 5,400 acres are left, less than 3% of the land in the basin, consisting of Jeffrey pine (Pinus jeffreyi), White Fir (Abies concolor), Red Fir (Abies magnifica), Sugar pine (P. lambertiana) and California incense cedar (Calocedrus decurrens).

There are no ranger districts dividing this "forest," the LTBMU is headed by a Forest Supervisor, with the Forest Supervisor's Office in South Lake Tahoe.


The LTBMU has a Fire Net and Admin Net. There are channels provided enabling direct or simplex communication on each net. The location and number of remote bases is unknown or how the dispatch center in Camino controls the two nets.


The LTBMU identifiers follow the function name, the number 4 and position number system. As there are not any ranger districts on this "forest" the numerical portion of the identifier, for an unknown reason, begins with the number 4. There are 3 fire stations on the LTBMU; Meyers, Meeks Bay and the Spooner Summit junction. In the last 20 years the the LTBMU has been dispatched by the interagency dispatch center in Minden and the Tahoe National Forest-Cal Fire Nevada-Yuba-Placer Unit Emergency Command Center at Grass Valley. The LTBMU is now dispatched by the Cal Fire - Eldorado NF co-located communications center in Camino, just east of Placerville. The center's identifier is "Camino."

Channel Plan

Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit Channel Lineup
Channel Tone(s) Rx Tx Alpha Tag Description
1 172.3750 172.3750 TMU1 Basin Net Dir Basin Fire Net Direct
2 1-3 172.3750 164.9625 TMU2 Basin Net Rpt Basin Fire Net Repeater
3 171.5750 171.5750 TMU3 Basin Admin Dir Basin Admin Net Direct
4 1-3 171.5750 165.4125 TMU4 Basin Admin Rpt Basin Admin Net Repeater
5 168.6625 168.6625 TMU5 R5 Project R5 Project Net
6 168.2000 168.2000 TMU6 NIFC Tac 2 NIFC Tac 2
7 6 154.2650 154.2650 TMU7 VFire 22 V Fire 22 (Note: Tone 6 - 156.7 Tx & Rx)
8 6 154.2950 154.2950 TMU8 VFire 23 V Fire 23 (Note: Tone 6 - 156.7 Tx & Rx)
9 6 154.3025 154.3025 TMU9 VFire 26 V Fire 26 (Note: Tone 6 - 156.7 Tx & Rx)
10 9 153.9500 154.4450 TMU10 S.Lake Tahoe South Lake Tahoe FD (Use Tone 9 - 100.0)
11 4,9 154.3400 153.8900 TMU11 Lk Valley Lake Valley FD Command (Use Tone 4 - 136.5 or Tone 9 - 100.0)
12 8,9,11,13 154.1300 159.4950 TMU12 NEU East Cal Fire Nevada-Yuba-Placer East (Use Tone 3 - 131.8 Rx Side)
13 154.2350 154.2350 TMU13 N.Lake Tahoe North Lake Tahoe FPD - Incline
14 7 155.0250 158.7750 TMU14 Tahoe Doug Tahoe Douglas FD (Use Tone 7 - 167.9)
15 1-11 171.5250 169.9500 TMU15 ENF Forest Eldorado NF Forest Net Repeater*
16 162.5500 National Weather Service
17 167.5000 167.5000 TMU17 A/G 14 P National Air Ground 14 - CA 2 Primary
18 169.1125 169.1125 TMU18 A/G 59 S National Air Ground 59 - CA 2 Secondary
  • See the Eldorado NF listing for repeater tones.


TMU Repeaters
Tone Location CTCSS Tone
1 Snow Valley 110.9
2 East Peak 123.0
3 Scout Peak 131.8

The input tone is transmitted on the output frequency on both of the Basin's Nets.

Cal Fire NEU East Repeaters
Tone Location CTCSS Tone
8 Mt. Rose 103.5
9 Snow Valley 100.0
11 Mt. Pluto 114.8
13 Northstar 141.3

Related Links

  • National Incident Radio Support Cache - These frequencies are used for large incidents, usually when a Type I or Type II Incident Management Team is assigned. This cache is used for fires, floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, visits of high ranking officials, such the U.S. President and the presidents of other countries, large law enforcement incidents, special events and other incidents where the federal government is utilizing the Incident Command System.

Return to DB page: United States Forest Service (CA)

US Forests in California:

Angeles Inyo Lassen Modoc Sequoia Six Rivers
Cleveland Klamath Los Padres Plumas Shasta-Trinity Stanislaus
Eldorado Lake Tahoe BMU Mendocino San Bernardino Sierra Tahoe