Nude sunbathers at Lake Tahoe may go to court

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. - Nude sunbathers are appealing a Forest Service decision and setting up a legal defense fund to sue if necessary to protect their access to a beach at Lake Tahoe.

The Tahoe Area Naturists, known as ''TAN,'' say new limits on roadside parking fail to recognize the high demand for access to the beach on the lake's east shore south of Incline Village.

The group earlier agreed to the limits in exchange for plans to build a parking lot with 150 new spaces. But the Forest Service since has scaled that plan back to build only 45 new parking spaces.

''We're prepared to do whatever we have to do. If we have to go to court, we'll do it,'' said North Swanson, TAN coordinator.

The group has been working with the Forest Service and other land managers around the lake since 1996 to address problems caused by hundreds of cars parked on the shoulders of Highway 28 above beaches like Secret Harbor, Whales Beach and Secret Cove.

The Forest Service concluded in an environmental assessment in August that the plans for the parking lots would harm Tahoe's fragile environment, accelerating soil erosion.

The new plans would add only 45 new spaces for a total of 93 available to all-day beach users if shoulder parking is outlawed.

''That's totally inadequate and does not compare with what was promised and what was agreed to,'' Swanson said.

The League to Save Lake Tahoe is among those urging elimination of the shoulder parking. The league has withheld its support for the parking lot expansion unless it includes elimination of the roadside parking, league director Rochelle Nason said.


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