The vault toilet and associated infrastructure are being removed upon mutual agreement between Caltrans and the US Forest Service. With no electricity and running water, and due to other factors such as accessibility compliance, it is not cost effective for Caltrans to improve and/or transition the site to an official State Rest Area. Nor is it cost effective for the US Forest Service to maintain the site in its current state.
After the closure and infrastructure removal, the US Forest Service will continue to maintain the parking area and the short trail leading to the Omega Scenic Overlook itself, a supported platform where visitors can still gaze in wonder into the massive South Yuba River drainage and beyond. Historical sites such as the Omega Diggings are clearly visible from the overlook.
The Omega Diggings, and nearby Alpha Diggings, display remnants of historic hydrological mining that occurred throughout the region in the mid-1800s. The Sawyer Decision of 1883 ended the practice of hydrological mining and its harmful effects to watershed health and water quality.
The parking area will be utilized by Caltrans, under special use permit, as a vehicle turnaround/chain control staging area during the winter months.
For more information about the Tahoe National Forest, go to www.fs.usda.gov/tahoe. Join the conversation by following us on Twitter at twitter.com/Tahoe_NF and Facebook at www.facebook.com/TahoeNF.