TART Connect Winter Hours; Placer Expands Parking Management; Grazing Project Proposed Near Truckee; 17 Youth Commissioners Appointed; More

Briefs: Dec. 8-14, 2023

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News Briefs

TART Connect Service Expands Winter Hours

TRUCKEE

TART Connect will be operating daily from 6:30 a.m. to midnight, serving all areas within Truckee town limits. With the holidays in mind, TART Connect will extend service hours from Dec. 26 through New Year’s Eve, operating until 1:30 a.m. Additional vehicles have also been added to the fleet to help minimize wait times.

Effective Dec. 14: Highway 89 and Truckee Local Westbound buses will no longer pull into the Truckee Train Depot lot. Please wait at the new bus stop across the street from the depot.

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Truckee Local

Truckee Local will no longer serve the Donner Lake area. Use TART Connect or Dial-a-Ride to get to Donner Lake.

The Railyard Mobility Hub has been added as a new stop for Truckee Local at 15 minutes after the hour for eastbound service (to Henness) and thirty-five minutes after the hour for westbound (to Coldstream).

Placer TART 267 Route

The Placer TART 267 Route will no longer serve the Truckee Train Depot but will drop off and pick up at new stops by the Beacon Gas Station and new Railyard Mobility Hub.

The Town of Truckee launched TART Connect in 2022 as a summer pilot program to gauge community interest and utilization of a microtransit program. After a hugely successful initial pilot, the Truckee town council approved a winter pilot with extended hours. Both initial pilots were limited to a few neighborhoods and the downtown area. The high demand, popularity of the service, and community feedback supported the council’s decision to approve a pilot extension through the end of June 2024 that serves the entire Truckee town area with supplementary service hours from the original pilot.

This free, on-demand shuttle service will pick users up anywhere within town limits and provides a safe, reliable ride for those going to work, a medical appointment, the grocery store, a friend’s house, holiday shopping, or connecting to the regional bus.

Equipped with ski racks and friendly drivers, TART Connect saves money and reduces stress and traffic congestion. They are not equipped with car seats, and riders with small children are invited to bring their own.

In just one year of TART Connect service, the town’s transit system saw an increase in ridership of over 250%, serving up to 18,000 passengers per day.

The TART Connect app is available on both iOS and Android. Alternatively, rides can be reserved by calling (530) 553-0653. For more information visit tahoetruckeetransit.com.

~ Town of Truckee e-news

Placer County Expands Parking Management

TAHOE CITY

Placer County approved an agreement with Palisades Tahoe to provide back-up enforcement of the resort’s new parking reservation program. The county has added staff to enforce updated parking regulations throughout eastern Placer County and address spill-over parking within Olympic Valley and nearby neighborhoods. Palisades Tahoe will be charged for county staff time.

County staff will cite vehicles parked without a valid resort parking reservation. The first parking fine will be $150 for unauthorized parking on private property. The second will be $250, and the third and all subsequent violations will cost $450. View the county’s updated parking fine amounts here.

The agreement is part of Placer County’s larger parking management program for the North Lake Tahoe region. An element of the resort triangle transportation plan, the program aims to better manage the existing parking supply regionally through paid public parking for the Kings Beach commercial core and some residential grid streets. The phase one plan will include discussions to determine employee parking solutions, the parking fee structure, residential permit parking zones, and voluntary program participation by private parking lot owners.

Placer County will hold meetings to discuss phase one implementation with the community. The first will be held in person Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2024, at 5 p.m. at the North Lake Tahoe Event Center. The second will be held virtually on Thursday, Jan. 11. Click here to register or learn more about these meetings.

Additional community meetings will be scheduled for March 2024 to share the draft phase one plan and solicit feedback. Funding for program implementation was approved by the North Tahoe Community Alliance and the Placer County Board of Supervisors in October.

Placer County encourages residents and visitors to take advantage of free public transportation options, including TART bus service and TART Connect. Skiers are encouraged to use Mountaineer to move about Olympic Valley and Alpine Meadows. Learn more about regional transit by clicking here.

For more information about the Placer County Parking Management Program, visit placer.ca.gov/8857/parking-management-program.

~ Placer County press release

FOREST HEALTH: An example of a targeted grazing operation. Photo courtesy Placer County

Grazing Project Proposed Near Truckee

NEVADA CITY

Tahoe National Forest is seeking public comment for the Big Jack East: Targeted Grazing Project. The project proposes the use of targeted grazing (i.e. goats or sheep) to reduce fuels on up to 2,012 acres of forest service lands located in northeastern Placer County near Truckee.

The project’s purpose is to reduce fuel loading, improve forest health, and provide adequate long-term community protection from future wildfires. The project area is largely surrounded by private property. Neighboring communities the project aims to protect include Sierra Meadows, Ponderosa Palisades, Martiswoods Estates, Ponderosa Ranchos, and Martis Camp. Additionally, a major utility corridor within the project area elevates the area’s need for effective management of the wildland urban interface.

This proposed targeted grazing project is primarily a maintenance treatment for the Big Jack East project, which included hand thinning and mechanical fuels work completed in summer 2021. Thanks to categorical exclusions in accordance with the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (Public Law No.117-58, section 40806), the implementation timeline for the proposed grazing may be expedited and occur as early as summer 2024. This law allows for an accelerated federal analysis process for projects that support the creation of fuel breaks that may protect infrastructure such as roads, utilities, homes, and communities from wildfire.

Interested parties are invited to provide input on identifying opportunities, concerns, and issues related to the proposed activities during the public comment period, open through Jan. 5. 2024. Submit written comments to comments-pacificsouthwest-tahoe-truckee@usda.gov (with subject line, BJE Targeted Grazing). Submitted comments should include name, address, and telephone number of the commenter, and if applicable, the organization represented.

Comments may also be mailed to:

Tahoe National Forest, Truckee Ranger District
Attn: Jonathan Cook-Fisher, District Ranger
10811 Stockrest Springs Rd.
Truckee, CA 96161

Project information is available on the Tahoe National Forest website: fs.usda.gov/project/?project=65226

~ Tahoe National Forest press release

Board Finalizes Funding for Six of 13 Approved Investment Projects

TAHOE CITY

Six new projects in eastern Placer have received funding to move forward — designed to improve trails, transportation, and workforce housing assistance.

The Placer County Board of Supervisors last week authorized spending a total of $4.2 million for the projects using revenue from transient occupancy tax collected in North Lake Tahoe. By long-standing county policy, all Transient Occupancy Tax revenue collected in Eastern Placer County is reinvested into the community.

The board approved TOT funding for a total of 13 investment projects during its Oct. 16 meeting. The projects are intended to advance regional goals including workforce housing and improved transportation within eastern Placer County. The board will review funding requests for the remaining seven projects at future meetings.

Each of these projects were solicited, vetted, and recommended through the North Tahoe Community Alliance Board of Directors, the TOT committee, and the Capital Projects Advisory committee.

The board approved $2.2 million in TOT funding for three projects led by local organizations:

  1. The Tahoe City Public Utility District will receive $1.6 million for the reconstruction of 2.25 miles of the North Shore Trail to replace aged and failing infrastructure in the trail system;
  2. The North Tahoe Public Utility District will receive $100,000 to plan and design an extension of the Pam Emmerich Memorial Pinedrop Trail;
  3. The Sierra Community House will receive $450,000 for its Workforce Housing Direct Assistance Program. This program helps local workers attain and sustain housing by providing case management services, direct payments to landlords and utility companies, and support for other housing-related costs (including relocation assistance).

The board also approved $2 million in TOT funding for three Placer-led projects:

  1. A $200,000 allocation will fund 2.5 miles of the North Tahoe Trail Segment and connect the existing Pine Drop Trail in Tahoe Vista to the trail entry point of Carnelian Bay Avenue.
  2. The board allocated $875,000 to the state Route 89 and state Route 267 adaptive corridor management/transit priority lane project, which is part of the Resort Triangle Transportation Plan. This includes strategic implementation, consultant planning, permitting and proposals over the next three years.
  3. The board also allocated just over $1 million to the Kings Beach Western Approach Project over the next three years. This project will convert the Kings Beach intersection at state Route 28 and state Route 267 into a roundabout. The project is needed to provide better connectivity between the Kings Beach downtown core and residential neighborhoods and formalize pedestrian walkways and bike lanes.

Learn more about TOT funding and projects in North Lake Tahoe by clicking here. Learn more about TOT-TBID Dollars At Work here.

~ Placer County press release

Seventeen Youth Commissioners Appointed

NEVADA COUNTY

The Nevada County Board of Supervisors appointed 17 students to serve as members of a new youth commission. The purpose of the commission is to serve as a bridge between the youth and the board. Members will advocate for Nevada County youth and provide recommendations to facilitate positive change. The commissioners will serve through June 30.

The members are:

  • Ahna Taliaferro-Watson, District 3, Nevada Union High School
  • Ana Zarate-Cortes, District 5, Truckee High School
  • Anthony Garcia-Ramirez, District 5, Truckee High School
  • Ari Funk,  District 1, Nevada Union High School
  • Arianna Drageset, District 3, Nevada Union High School
  • Frank Post, District 1, Nevada Union High School
  • Harris Nelson, District 4, Nevada Union High School
  • Jake Aaron Neil Hippsley, District 2, Sierra Academy of Expeditionary Learning
  • Liliana Nevaeh Marcum, District 2, Bear River High School
  • Loretta Candia-Hernandez, District 2, Bear River High School
  • Mackenzie Lynn Rist, District 4, Nevada Union High School
  • Mario Albert LaMarca, District 1, Nevada Union High School
  • Maura Griffin, District 3,  Nevada Union High School
  • Ninel Hernandez, District 5, Truckee High School
  • Roberto Gago, District 2, Nevada Union High School
  • Sam Ove, District 4, Ghidotti High School
  • Walter William Helvin, District 4, Ghidotti High School

~ Nevada County newsletter

Tahoe Fire and Fuels Team Forest Health Update

LAKE TAHOE

The Tahoe Fire and Fuels Team (TFFT) is taking action to protect lives, property, and the environment within the Lake Tahoe Basin from wildfire. This collaborative group formed in 2008 and includes 21 federal, tribal, state, and local conservation, land management, and fire agencies.

In 2023, partners treated thousands of acres of forested and urban lots to reduce hazardous fuels. They made significant progress on many urgent environmental improvement program projects, such as NV Energy’s Resilience Corridors Project. Once complete, the project will create resilient forests adjacent to 28 miles of NV Energy utility infrastructure and will have thinned 290 acres.

California State Parks conducted a prescribed fire understory burning operation on a 60-acre plot in Burton Creek State Park this fall. Managing and maintaining this forest landscape will provide additional fire protection to adjacent homes and community structures. 

TFFT partners work closely with the community to educate people about how to prepare for wildfire. Fire protection districts and other partners inspected and provided chipping and home hardening and defensible space recommendations for thousands of privately-owned properties this year. Tahoe Regional Planning Agency inspected and provided tree removal permits to more than 1,000 homeowners. In Incline Village, partners conducted an evacuation drill to test the effectiveness of the regional evacuation, current shelter, and mass care plan in response to a simulated wildland fire. Neighborhoods are creating fire adapted communities with the help of Tahoe Resource Conservation District.

Tahoe RCD has also been leading the Community Wildfire Protection Plan update. The CWPP draft will be available for public comment in spring of 2024, and once complete will help attract funding and prioritize projects in Lake Tahoe.

Learn more about Tahoe’s forest health-focused environmental improvement projects at eip.laketahoeinfo.org/EIPFocusArea/Detail/2 and how to stay prepared for wildfire year round at tahoelivingwithfire.com.

~ TFFT press release

Nevada County Receives Challenge Award

NEVADA CITY

In November, the California State Association of Counties (CSAC) presented its challenge award to Nevada County for its continued dedication to finding collaborative solutions for visitor safety and outdoor recreation.

The CSAC Challenge Awards recognize the most innovative programs among California’s 58 counties. The awards recognize California counties’ innovative and creative spirit as they find new, effective, and cost-saving ways to provide programs and services to their citizens. This year, CSAC received 389 entries, of which a judging panel selected the top 14 to receive a 2023 challenge award.

Nevada County was chosen for showing a proven collaborative model of leadership, solutions, and investment in outdoor recreation management and visitor safety at high-use and high-risk destinations with the South Yuba River Public Safety Cohort, Outdoor Visitor Safety Fund, and the recreation board objective established by the Nevada County Board of Supervisors to dedicate resources to these and related initiatives. 

“Visitor safety and management is a critical concern for rural communities in California,”  explains Erika Seward, senior administrative analyst in the Nevada County Community  Development Agency. “This award acknowledges the many community partners in Nevada County working together to advocate, share resources, coordinate messaging and develop projects that address impacts to our rivers, lakes, trails and open spaces that improve safety and the outdoor experience for all to enjoy.”

Visit counties.org/challenge-awards for information about the 2023 CSAC Challenge Award-winning programs.

~ Nevada County press release

CCTT ANNUAL AWARD WINNERS: From left to right: Erica Mertens, Maddie Leh, Anne Rarick. Courtesy photo

Spotlighting Local Excellence

TRUCKEE

The Community Collaborative of Tahoe Truckee (CCTT), a program of the Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation, announced the recipients of its annual awards during its monthly partner meeting on Dec. 5.

These individuals have been recognized by their peers for making invaluable contributions to the community. Nominations for CCTT’s annual awards were received from partners in November. A committee assisted in selecting winners in three categories. Our local community members who go above and beyond every day for all of us are as follows:

  • The Public Service Award of Excellence awarded to Maddie Leh, program coordinator at Adventure Risk Challenge;
  • The Chris Ballin Award awarded to Erica Mertens, diversity, equity, and inclusion program manager for the Town of Truckee; and
  • CCTT Partner of the Year awarded to Anne Rarick, manager of Tahoe Truckee COAD (Community Organizations Active in Disaster).

Since 2007, the collaborative has annually recognized the work of partners from over 45 health, social service, education, and community-based organizations who collaborate, network, and work together to maximize resources for children, families, and seniors in the North Lake Tahoe Truckee region.

~ Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation press release

Business Briefs

Bryce Bennett Secures First World Cup Win for U.S. Male Alpine Skier in Two Years

OLYMPIC VALLEY

Palisades Tahoe and Stifel US Ski Team athlete Bryce Bennett secured the first World Cup victory for a U.S. male Alpine skier in two years. 

Competing in Val Gardena, Italy, on Dec. 14, the two-time Olympian defied the odds from bib No. 34, considering that the top-ranked skiers typically occupy the first 30 bibs. Bennett’s impressive performance resulted in a narrow victory, overtaking the reigning World Cup downhill season champion, Aleksander Aamodt Kilde of Norway, by a mere three-hundredths of a second. The third spot went to world champion Marco Odermatt of Switzerland, trailing five hundredths behind. 

This victory by Bennett brings an end to the longest U.S. men’s Alpine World Cup victory drought since the period from 1995 to 2000. Notably, Bennett had previously claimed the title of the most recent American man to win a World Cup at the same Val Gardena downhill in December 2021, which was his only previous World Cup podium.

As one of the tallest men on the circuit, standing at 6-foot-7, Bennett shared in an interview, “I am speechless, we have been working really hard with a lot of good camps this summer and I have been showing good skiing but I just love it here. I changed the approach last year and this year and I am just so happy. I wanted a good run today and I just had to let it flow and trust myself.”

Born and raised in Truckee, Bennett got his start shredding the slopes of Palisades Tahoe at 2 years old. He then joined Team Palisades Tahoe’s youth development pipeline, and by 8 years old he decided he was going to race in the Olympics. He has competed in the 2018 and 2022 Winter Games, and now proudly boasts two World Cup victories. Bennett is part of a legacy of American downhillers coming out of Palisades Tahoe including Daron Rahlves, Marco Sullivan, and Travis Ganong. 

The FIS World Cup returns to North Lake Tahoe at Palisades Tahoe from Feb. 23 to 25, featuring the Stifel Palisades Tahoe Cup with Men’s Slalom and Giant Slalom events.

~ Palisades Tahoe press release

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