Editor’s note, Aug. 29 at 10:15 a.m.: Additional information regarding the wildfire prevention grant recipients is now included.

News Briefs

Old 40 Section of Donner Pass Road Open


After closures for construction and rockfall, Donner Pass Road is now open. Motorists should be aware that Herback General Engineering will be striping the road starting Friday, Aug. 25, through Sunday, Aug. 27, nightly from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. with traffic controls including 20-minute delays. The reopening comes a week earlier than planned.


Residents can follow along with past and current project updates at nevadacountyca.gov/donnerpassroadconstruction and find updates on the Nevada County Public Works Facebook page.

Help Nevada County Public Works respond to issues on county-maintained roads:

~ Nevada County press release

Board Increases Fees Related to Short-Term Rentals


In March 2021, Washoe County adopted a new ordinance setting standards, license requirements, and fees for short-term rentals (STRs). As the ordinance was new, staff has actively gathered public feedback to revise the codes to best meet the needs of the community. A late August action amends the fee schedule to increase the fees on Tier 1 STR permit applications and renewals from $270 to $350, and implement new fees for applicant-requested changes to existing permits and permit appeals.  

STR fees are intended to cover the cost of administering the program, but the demand has exceeded the current staffing. The current fee structure only generates about $257,000 of revenue to the general fund, creating an annual shortfall of approximately $259,000. Increased fees will allow the county’s community services to transfer management of the permits to a paraprofessional rather than the current higher-salaried staff, and will cover costs for enhanced enforcement efforts and participation in Clean Tahoe programs, among other items. 

Public feedback on the STR program has revealed a need for better enforcement of the codes, including regular data exchange with the sheriff’s office, increased patrol presence, and increased spot-checks by a code enforcement officer over the busy summer months.  

“This is something I ran on,” Chair Alexis Hill said. “The community was clamoring for the county to get involved because it was neighbor against neighbor. And there was no way to resolve those concerns. There were party houses, people were having weddings at homes. No program is perfect, but as we’ve heard from the data and statistics, it’s much improved. This program has helped mend relationships and it’s not perfect but it’s a place for people to remedy their concerns.” 

The county board of commissioners also considered code amendments to limit the number of STRs in unincorporated Washoe County. Chair Hill and Commissioner Mike Clark requested that this issue be addressed, so Division Director of Planning and Building Kelly Mullin presented a formal request for the board to initiate that change; however, this item did not pass. The board did vote to initiate amendments to streamline the verification and enforcement process, reengage the community on the process, and look at the tiers of permit types.

~ Washoe County press release

WHERE THERE’S SMOKE: In 2007, the now-named Johnson Canyon, near the Tahoe Donner neighborhood experienced a wildfire. Truckee North Tahoe Forest Management Program (TNTFMP) is a new program born out of the Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation created to assist private, forested property owners with wildfire resilience efforts. Courtesy photo

Community Foundation Awards Over $500,000 in Battle Against Wildfires


Forest Futures, a Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation (TTCF) initiative, is pleased to announce the implementation of the Truckee North Tahoe Forest Management Program (TNTFMP). Established in 2022, the TNTFMP pilot program was created to assist private, forested property owners with wildfire resilience efforts. It has been made possible by a $1.9 million grant through the Cal Fire Wildfire Resilience Block Grant Program. 

This June, the first round of funding ($507,050) was awarded for seven private property forest management projects through recommendations from a partner-based Application Review Committee that included representatives from Truckee River Watershed Council, North Tahoe and Truckee fire protection districts, and Nevada County Office of Emergency Services. These grants will support technical and financial assistance for forest resilience efforts, the California Environmental Quality Act permitting process, and on-the-ground project implementation on private properties of 3 acres or more in North Tahoe and Truckee. 

The seven projects breakdown as follows: Five grantees were awarded funding for technical assistance to develop a Forest Management Plan with a registered professional forester on their properties. The Forest Management Plan will identify projects and treatments necessary for future implementation. These grantees include individual landowners and HOAs. The Olympic Valley Public Services District received funding to go through the CEQA environmental compliance process for a 100-acre fuel break project on private property in its service area. OVPSD is going through the CEQA process on behalf of the private landowners that make up the 100-acre project area. This project was identified in OVPSD’s recently updated Community Wildfire Protection Plan. The seventh grant was awarded for project implementation to Sugar Bowl Corporation. Sugar Bowl received funding to implement a 183-acre fuel reduction project on Donner Summit that will be implemented over two years.

TNTFMP brings important additional funding to Forest Futures and the region to further increase pace and scale of forest management. It also fills (private property) forest management gaps in the regional landscape that is largely dominated by publicly managed lands. 

Interested property owners are invited to join the next TNTFMP workshop this fall. Further details will be released soon. The second application round for funding will open in early 2024. 

To learn more about this program and eligibility requirements, visit the Truckee North Tahoe Forest Management Program website here

Funding for the TNTFMP was provided by California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection’s Wildfire Resilience Program.

~ Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation press release

Hirschdale Community Conversation Aug. 31


Nevada County is hosting a community conversation on Thursday, Aug. 31, from 8 to 9 a.m. about the Recreation and Resiliency Master Plan. The conversation will take place at the Hirschdale Bridge. Residents are encouraged to attend to hear the latest news and share thoughts and ideas. Visit nevadacountyrecreation.com/plan for additional information.

The Tahoe Truckee Fly Fishers club is urging Truckee River anglers and recreational to “let the county know we want access reestablished to the State Wildlife Areas downstream of the Hirschdale Bridge.”

Nevada County has been working over the past few years to balance private property concerns with public recreation opportunities in the Hirschdale area. Moonshine Ink has reported on the situation (Solutions to Hirschdale Recreational Access Issues Proposed, Larger Consensus Not Reached) and opinions have been shared (Fish and Wildlife Property Provides Idyllic Solution for Public Access, Recreational Use of Truckee River in Hirschdale Area; Clarifying Nevada County’s Plans for Hirschdale), and is continuing to follow the conversations.

~ AH 

Forest Service Parking Lot Upgrade Continues Tahoe East Shore Corridor Improvements


The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency Governing Board has approved the USDA Forest Service Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit (LTBMU) Chimney Beach Trailhead parking improvement project on Lake Tahoe’s East Shore. The project will help improve safety, reduce roadside parking, and enhance recreation in the popular state Route 28 corridor.

The LTBMU project will expand the existing 21-space parking area to 130 spaces while partner agencies remove an equivalent amount of roadside and shoulder parking in the area, which will improve roadway safety, emergency response, recreation access, improve scenic quality in the National Scenic Byway, and reduce soil damage and erosion. It is estimated that more than 70% of fine sediment harming Lake Tahoe’s clarity is coming from roadways and urban upland areas.

Construction is expected to last through October 2023 with some construction activities to be completed early next summer. Although the parking lot will be closed, trails will remain open during construction.

The project is part of both the LTBMU’s SR-28 Shared Use Path, Parking, Safety, and Environmental Improvements Project and the Nevada State Route 28 Corridor Management Plan. The larger vision for the corridor includes additional parking management and technology, continuation of the East Shore Trail to Spooner Summit, more frequent transit and additional transit stops, and construction of a mobility hub at Spooner Summit.

The upgraded parking area will be constructed with water-quality Best Management Practices, or BMPs, to treat stormwater and runoff before it leaves the site as well as improved trash containment. Further improvements to the trailhead will include restrooms, transit pullouts, a pedestrian crossing, and infrastructure to support a future parking management system.

Thirteen partner organizations are involved in implementing the Nevada SR-28 Corridor Management Plan. Funding has been committed through federal and state sources as well as contributions from the Tahoe Fund, a nonprofit which has committed up to $3 million in private donations to projects in the corridor. Earlier improvements included the first section of the East Shore Trail from Incline Village to Sand Harbor Nevada State Park, which involved successful removal of roadside parking in the corridor. 

View the LTBMU SR-28 Corridor Management Plan Decision Notice and Environmental Assessment online.

For more information on this project, contact Mike Gabor at mike.gabor@usda.gov.

~ TRPA, Forest Service press release

Vietnam Veteran Seeking Community Help


Dianna and Timothy Brown, owners of Zano’s Restaurant, have formed a GoFundMe campaign for local veteran Ross Nagle. Nagle owns a historic property (built in 1894 and former office of the Richardson Brothers) on High Street in Truckee and is in need of help putting a new roof and windows on his home.

“I have been trying to bring the dreams and vision I have for my home to fruition over the past few decades,” Nagle wrote as part of the GoFundMe fundraiser description. “However, this winter was very tough on me. I had both of my knees replaced around the holidays and I could not keep up with the snow we received. Unfortunately, this and numerous other factors have resulted in my home becoming unsafe for me to live in. I have been working with the Town of Truckee to come up with a timeline to get back into my home but I have realized that several projects require more than I am able to do on my own.”

As of publication, over $4,000 has been raised for Nagle’s effort to restore his home. Learn more about the fundraiser at gofund.me/60eab031

~ AH

Outrigger Canoe Club Regularly Hosts Veterans, Community Lessons


The Kawai’ulu ‘O Tahoe Outrigger Canoe Club is a nonprofit organization and racing club dedicated to teaching about basic and advanced techniques of the outrigger canoeing sport. On Aug. 30, the club will be hosting a group of Reno veterans, providing dry land instruction, lessons on the water, and a picnic. Member Carol Harrington said the group often coordinates with veterans and recreation for disability-focused groups (like Achieve Tahoe), and even has an adaptive outrigger to assist disabled individuals.

There are also community events. “This was the first year in 17 years where we ran a four-week class through the [Truckee-Donner] Rec and Park District,” Harrington said. She said the group expects to repeat the instruction next summer.

We’re a small but mighty little club,” Harrington said, adding that it has three branches: Truckee, North Tahoe, and South Shore. “We do tend to run until October or November; it depends on the weather.”

She later said, “It’s more than a sport. It’s aloha, that sense of family.”

Learn more about the Kawai’ulu ‘O Tahoe Outrigger Canoe Club at tahoeoutrigger.org

~ AH

Amazon-Recognized Children’s Books Authored By Local Available Online


Ashley Chadwick, a local resident since 2010, released a three-book series, The Lost Art of Mannerisms, this past April. 

Upon the release of the book Please, Thank You, and Excuse Me, it was recognized at the time as the number one new release on children’s values by amazon.com. The 26-page children’s book has also achieved number three bestseller in the “Children’s Books on Values” category; number one new release and number six bestseller in the “Children’s Manners” category; and number one new release and number two bestseller in the “Children’s Social Situations” category — all on Amazon. 

Through direct language and illustrations, the book introduces the basic concepts of please, thank you, and excuse me in ways that speak directly to young children. With practical, real-life examples that will be immediately familiar to kids, Chadwick reinforces the importance of these useful phrases as the foundation of early language development. 

The other two books in the series are Listen, Share, and Be Nice and Animal Etiquette for Kids. The books are available as hardcovers and ebooks through the Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Target websites, and are expected to be purchased by the Tahoe City and Kings Beach libraries.

Learn more about Chadwick, who has worked as a nanny for 15 years, and her books at thelostartofmannerisms.com

~ AH

Moving In, Moving On, Moving Up

Workforce Housing Agency Welcomes New Executive Director Heidi Volkhardt Allstead


HEIDI VOLKHARDT ALLSTEAD has been selected as the incoming executive director for the Truckee Tahoe Workforce Housing Agency. Her expertise focuses on management, strategy, and capacity building. Courtesy photo

The Truckee Tahoe Workforce Housing Agency (TTWHA) Board of Directors has selected Heidi Volkhardt Allstead as its new executive director. After an extensive search, Allstead emerged as the leading candidate for the agency, succeeding the outgoing director, Emily Vitas.

With over 20 years of leadership experience, Allstead’s professional experience and core values align seamlessly with the agency’s mission and vision. Throughout her career, she has been deeply involved in supporting various organizations in the greater Truckee/Tahoe region, playing a crucial role in developing strategies, implementing best practices, managing programs, and building sustainable and capacity-building projects. Notably, Allstead previously served as the executive director for the Martis Fund, where she supported the stewardship of nearly $13 million in grantmaking dollars for various projects, including a number of local workforce housing initiatives.

Her core values, which emphasize strategic vision, collaboration, and relationship-building, make her an excellent fit for the role of executive director.

Among her numerous accomplishments in workforce housing, Allstead successfully collaborated with community partners such as Mountain Housing Council, Placer County, Town of Truckee, TTWHA, and Sierra Business Council to support local housing projects. During her tenure, the Martis Fund administered over $4 million for regional housing projects and programs. Heidi’s expertise extended to the successful management of the Martis Fund Down Payment Assistance Program, disbursing over $2.5 million in loans to more than 50 families.

~ TTWHA press release

Grant Framework Manager Named For Community Alliance


TARA HETZ is hired as the North Tahoe Community Alliance’s new grant framework manager, created to lead the organization’s destination management and stewardship efforts that leverage TOT and TBID dollars for planning, transportation, capital infrastructure improvement, workforce housing projects and programs, and tourism impact mitigation in North Lake Tahoe. Photo courtesy NTCA

The North Tahoe Community Alliance, North Lake Tahoe’s destination stewardship and management organization, has selected Tara Hetz as its grant framework manager. The new position reports to president and CEO Tony Karwowski, and was created to lead the NTCA’s destination management and stewardship efforts that leverage transient occupancy tax and tourism business improvement district dollars for planning, transportation, capital infrastructure improvement, workforce housing projects and programs, and tourism impact mitigation in North Lake Tahoe.

Last year, Hetz worked as the project manager and community engagement facilitator for Center for Responsible Travel, managing the Regional Lake Tahoe Destination Stewardship Plan development. The regional plan was created to balance Tahoe’s visitor and resident needs, services, and environmental concerns. She also co-authored the state of tourism white paper for the region and facilitated the development of the DSP’s action plan.

Hetz completed her Master of Science from the Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism at the University of Utah. She worked with the Gateway and Natural Amenity Region (GNAR) research initiative that supports research, education, and capacity building efforts to help gateway and natural amenity regions and the communities in them prepare for and respond to the community development, planning, and natural resource challenges they face. Her research was focused on sustainable tourism and Destination Stewardship planning process across the American West.

As the NTCA grant framework manager, Hetz will develop critical collaborative relationships by convening and participating with partners such as but not limited to NTCA committees, NTCA Board of Directors, TBID members, Placer County staff and board of supervisors, and other key stakeholders such as federal, state, regional, and local agencies, and the public. She will be responsible for managing key funding strategies and opportunities to fulfill community projects in the NTCA’s Community Vitality and Economic Health Investment Program, and will start in her new role today.

Learn more about the NTCA at northtahoecommunityalliance.com

~ NTCA press release


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