Visitor center, amphitheater to be built at Spooner Lake State Park |

Visitor center, amphitheater to be built at Spooner Lake State Park

by Laney Griffo
A view of Spooner Lake from the Tahoe Rim Trail.
Bill Rozak/ Tahoe Daily Tribune

Spooner Lake and Backcountry is about to get a facelift thanks to efforts from Nevada Division of State Parks and the Tahoe Fund.

Work begins on phase one of a two-phase project in mid-May to early-June to update Spooner Lake State Park’s over 35-year-old facilities.

The $2.9 million project includes a new visitor center and amphitheater.

“Spooner Lake has been growing in popularity with over 150,000 visitors a year,” said Tahoe Fund CEO Amy Berry. “The facilities weren’t built with that amount of visitation in mind.”

According to Jay Howard, Project Manager with Nevada State Parks, the visitors center will feature an open-air pavilion with two buildings, one on each side. The pavilion will be an interpretive pavilion with information about the park, trails and daily weather information. One of the buildings will have bathrooms and a convenience room, with outlets, seating and food and drink options. That room will act as a warm room during the winter.

The other building will house a gift shop, information desk and ranger office.

“We’re hoping the visitor’s center will be a destination point,” Howard said.

The pavilion will have a path that leads to the amphitheater. Both Berry and Howard hope the amphitheater will encourage schools to bring students to the park for learning opportunities.

The area will also have seating, picnic tables, and landscaping. There will also be a bicycle maintenance station with tools and an air pump.

The bicycle maintenance station will come in handy when the next section of the East Shore Trail is finished. The U.S. Forest Service, Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit recently released plans to connect the path from Sand Harbor to Spooner Lake.

“The visitors center will tie into the southern bookend of the East Shore Trail,” Howard said.

That plan will also include expanded parking options along the way, making Spooner Lake more accessible.

Both Berry and Howard are excited about the partnership between Nevada State Parks and the Tahoe Fund.

“It’s another great example of a private/public partnership,” Berry said.

“Whenever you embark on a big project like this, you need partnerships,” Howard said.

He added that having multiple agencies involved helps with the fund raising.

The Tahoe Fund contributed $300,000 to the project and a $100,000 wgift was given by the E.L. Cord Foundation.

The project is estimated to be completed in Fall 2021.