Tahoe hosts workshops on balancing tourism, recreation and ecology

One of the most popular tourist destinations at Lake Tahoe is Emerald Bay, which is also one of the most crowded.

One of the most popular tourist destinations at Lake Tahoe is Emerald Bay, which is also one of the most crowded.
Tim Berube | Special to The R-C


Just four months ago, Highway 50 through Lake Tahoe was backed up 35 miles while holiday visitors tried to get back to California in the middle of a major storm.

It’s no secret that residents of the Basin are losing patience with visitors, and those interested in the responsible management of tourism and recreation are invited to take part in a series of workshops this month.

While there are several sessions around Lake Tahoe, the one in Stateline is 6-8 p.m. May 18 at the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority office.

The information gathered at the meetings will be used to create a destination stewardship plan to balance the needs of Lake Tahoe’s environment, businesses, visitors, and local communities.

“The way people access and rely on public lands is changing,” said Forest Service Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit Forest Supervisor Erick Walker. “In everything from hiking to skiing we are welcoming new and more diverse users, sometimes in growing numbers. “Now is the time for us to come together to learn how we can better coordinate and improve the whole picture.”

Residents and stakeholders are invited to participate in the visioning workshops on May 16-18 in locations around the Tahoe Basin, plus an option for Zoom.

“This unprecedented collaboration with land managers, visitors, authorities and the local community is exactly what we need right now,” said Tahoe Fund CEO and core team representative Amy Berry. “Together, we will work to develop a plan that will improve the quality of the Tahoe experience for everybody while also taking care of our extraordinary environment.”

Experts in the field of destination stewardship, including the Center for Responsible Travel, and the Travel Foundation, are helping guide the process to create a shared vision and decision-making framework for sustainable management of tourism and recreation throughout the Lake Tahoe region. Additionally, the team includes South Lake Tahoe-based research firm SMG Consulting and Civitas Advisors specializing in sustainable funding solutions.

A core team is leading the project from federal, state, county, and local governmental organizations, as well as businesses, nonprofits, and all four destination organizations that market and manage Lake Tahoe area tourism.

To ensure the plan supports a shared vision for future tourism and recreation, it will draw inspiration from extensive local engagement, including two rounds of public workshops, one-on-one interviews, and focus group meetings with stakeholders including the Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California.

The first round of workshops invites participants to identify opportunities for increasing the direct benefits of tourism and recreation, while addressing the challenges, and creating the plan’s vision and mission statements as well as key goals.

A virtual workshop will be scheduled following the May workshops. All are invited to register for a workshop, learn more about the planning process, and sign up to receive news about the project, results from workshops, and additional opportunities for feedback at StewardshipTahoe.org.


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