Douglas prepares for Fourth at Tahoe

Enforcement of parking restrictions on Warrior Way is already underway.

Enforcement of parking restrictions on Warrior Way is already underway.
Photo by Kurt Hildebrand.

Nearly three score security personnel, both private and public, will be watching Zephyr Cove and Zephyr Shoals in order to prevent what happened last year at Lake Tahoe.

Holiday visitors trashed the beach at Zephyr Shoals, which was the old Dreyfus Estate, making international news in 2023.

Douglas County commissioners approved an event permit for a beer garden at Zephyr Cove Resort, where people are prohibited from bringing alcohol from outside by county ordinance over the July 4 holiday.

A new contract between the U.S. Forest Service and vendor Aramark incorporated Zephyr Shoals into neighbor Zephyr Cove, which would include the alcohol ban.

Sheriff Dan Coverley said that when Aramark first submitted their outdoor festival plan the Sheriff’s Office sent it back with corrections.

“They have agreed easily to all of it,” he said. “They want this to succeed. I want this to succeed, so I think we’re moving in the right direction.”

Coverley said when he started with the Sheriff’s Office in the 1990s, most of what has occurred at Zephyr Cove was happening at Nevada Beach.

“The Forest Service outlawed alcohol there on the Fourth,” he said. “That changed the entire dynamic. I hope that will happen here. Zephyr Cove is a beautiful spot, it’s a wonderful beach, and it should be there to be enjoyed by everyone.”

Coverley pointed out that issues at Zephyr Cove don’t stay there.

“All those people eventually get into a car or walk somewhere,” he said. “If we can limit those activities and the people who are on the beach can safely celebrate the Fourth of July and then leave safely, we have an obligation to do that.”

The security force includes 18 Douglas County deputies and 40 Aramark security guards who will be patrolling the area. Aramark is paying for the deputies to be there.

Commissioner Mark Gardner said the Fourth at Zephyr Cove was not family friendly.

However, Commissioner Walt Nowosad said enforcing regulations may help turn that around.

“I guarantee you that after two years running, the families will be back enjoying themselves on these beaches,” he said.

Coverley reminded commissioners that Zephyr Cove isn’t the only place the Sheriff’s Office is covering on July Fourth.

“Fourth of July is an all-hands-on-deck event for our department. Zephyr Cove is part of it, but it’s not all that we do,” he said. “We have two lakes … and the Valley and we’re working at a fever’s pitch.”

Commission Chairman Wes Rice said he hoped that the parking changes along Highway 50 and Warrior Way will help dissuade some of the problems.

Assistant County Manager Scott Morgan said that while parking on Warrior Way will be free to Douglas County residents, they will still have to pay to park at Zephyr Cove Resort.

Aramark expects 2,000 participants at the beer garden which will be open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.


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