Tahoe stewardship plan to address tourism, recreation challenges

The Take Care Bear and Woodsy Owl attended the plan signing. 
Photo by Laney Griffo/Tahoe Daily Tribune

The Take Care Bear and Woodsy Owl attended the plan signing. Photo by Laney Griffo/Tahoe Daily Tribune

A group of Lake Tahoe nonprofits, destination and land managers launched the Lake Tahoe Destination Stewardship Plan at Round Hill Pines Resort on Tuesday with the signing of an agreement to create the first stewardship council for the region.

The plan outlines a comprehensive framework and sets in motion action priorities to better manage outdoor recreation and tourism and ensure the sustainability and preservation of an iconic natural treasure and its local community.

Tuesday’s event capped a process that began in 2022 after the community felt immense challenges initially brought on by the coronavirus outbreak. The plan’s vision and actions were developed in collaboration with 17 regional organizations and participation of over 3,000 residents, visitors, and businesses through surveys, interviews, and workshops.

Speakers at the event included Tahoe Regional Planning Agency Executive Director Julie Regan, Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit Forest Supervisopr Erick Walker, North Tahoe Community Alliance President and CEO Tony Karwowski, Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority President and CEO Carol Chaplin and Tahoe Fund CEO Amy Berry.

“This plan responds to the need to balance a robust tourism economy, a fragile environment and thriving local communities,” Chaplin said. “And the collaboration and commitment by our lakewide partners to achieve that balance is extraordinary and powerful towards achieving our shared vision.”

The plan’s goal is to make Tahoe a “cherished place, welcoming to all, where people, communities, and nature benefit from a thriving tourism and outdoor recreation economy.”

“At its heart, this plan is about taking care of Tahoe for generations to come,” said Berry. “With the entire region putting this strategy into action, we will be able to build a sustainable future for the Lake Tahoe environment that everyone can enjoy.”

The Destination Steward Plan working group was formed about two years ago.

“When a visitor comes to North Lake Tahoe, they don’t see a jurisdictional change, the experience for them is the same and they can expect to hear the same messaging about how they behave when they come here,” Karwowski said. “Residents can also expect to hear the same themes as to how they can contribute to making North Lake Tahoe the greatest place to visit and live.”

Along with Karwowski, Regan and Walker are both fairly new to their roles. Regan said having new faces working along long-time community leaders helped push this initiative forward.

“The beauty of Tahoe is that it’s always been a shared resource and sharing is hard … it’s never been easy and I think the challenge has just evolved but the basic principles of sharing this place are something we hold fast to,” Regan said.

“As the Tahoe region’s primary economic engine, tourism must be nurtured and shaped to support the wellbeing of its communities, visitors, businesses, natural environment, and cultures,” said Walker. “It is everyone’s responsibility to safeguard and improve Lake Tahoe and its surrounding lands, tributaries and forests. To protect the quality of the Tahoe experience, it is vital to manage use while providing opportunities for all to enjoy it.”

To implement the plan, partners agreed to establish a Lake Tahoe Stewardship Council that will actively engage with stakeholders, residents, and visitors.

Key programs include Take Care Ambassadors at recreation sites and trailheads, expanded litter clean ups, solar compacting trash cans, and coordinated stewardship education campaigns focused on visitors and outdoor recreation users.

For more information about the Lake Tahoe Destination Stewardship Plan and to access the full plan document, visit www.stewardshiptahoe.org.


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