Tahoe National Forest Planning 406-Acre Prescribed Burn
On Oct. 5, Tahoe National Forest began a prescribed burn of 406 acres at Sagehen Summit off Highway 89 and Forest Service Road 878-2 near Truckee. The purpose of the project is to reduce fuels/wildfire risk and improve forest health and habitat.
Smoke will be visible from Truckee, Donner and Independence lakes, and Stampede and Boca reservoir areas. Any smoke impacts will be carefully monitored.
Incident updates and any schedule changes will be announced on Tahoe National Forest’s InciWeb: inciweb.wildfire.gov/incident-information/catnf-sagehen-hills-underburn.
Current conditions allow for prescribed burning. Each prescribed fire operation follows a prescribed fire burn plan, which considers temperature, humidity, wind, vegetation moisture, and conditions for the dispersal of smoke. This information is used to decide when and where to burn. The Tahoe National Forest strives to give as much advance notice as possible before burning, but some operations may be conducted on short notice.
Fire restrictions on the Tahoe National Forest have ended, effective Oct. 2. Above-average fuel moisture levels and favorable weather conditions minimize fire danger. The lifting of these restrictions only applies to national forest lands on the Tahoe National Forest.
~ Tahoe National Forest press release
Oct. 26: Wildfire Impacts on Lakes, with Steve Sadro
On Thursday, Oct. 26, UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center will host a lecture about Wildfire Impacts on Lakes with Dr. Steve Sadro. The in-person event will be held at Sunnyside Restaurant and Lodge in the Mountainside Bar. Dinners will be 20% off for interested guests.
Extreme wildfires now occur with increasing regularity in western North America and other parts of the world. These wildfires generate large plumes of smoke and ash that can travel thousands of miles and persist for weeks or longer in the atmosphere. These “smoke storms” block sunlight and deposit ash on surfaces. Lakes and ponds are affected by the reduced light and ash inputs from wildfires, but much about these potential impacts is unknown. Light and nutrients are both important factors that regulate the growth of plants and algae in aquatic ecosystems. Rates of primary production from plants and algae in turn determine how much food becomes available for other organisms, such as fish, and can affect many aspects of water quality. Thus, understanding how and why aquatic primary production is responding to wildfires is a critical research objective. This lecture will illustrate the scale at which smoke from wildfires is affecting lakes across North America, and highlight some of the effects with data from lakes throughout California, including Lake Tahoe’s response to the 2021 Caldor Fire.
This talk will feature UC Davis TERC Associate Professor Steve Sadro. Much of his research is conducted in the Sierra Nevada mountains, where steep landscape gradients provide a natural laboratory to test ecological questions. He seeks solutions to environmental problems and contributes to the conservation of aquatic ecosystems.
Admission is $10 and free for students with a student ID. Appetizers and a no-host bar will be available from 5 to 6 p.m. The lecture will begin at 6 p.m. in the Mountainside Bar at Sunnyside Restaurant and Lodge, 1850 West Lake Blvd., located just south of Tahoe City.
For more information call (775) 881-7560 or visit tahoe.ucdavis.edu/events.
~ TERC press release
Over 100 Gather for Annual Sustainability Summit
More than 100 community leaders met to discuss ways to mitigate climate change on Sept. 27 at the 2nd Annual Nevada County Sustainability Summit at Martis Camp.
“We are here because our planet needs us now more than ever, our region needs us now more than ever, our communities need us now more than ever,” said Nevada County Supervisor Hardy Bullock, who spearheaded the event with Supervisor Heidi Hall. “All of you here today know that we are facing unprecedented threats from catastrophic wildfire, rising global temperatures, sea level rise, and a rapidly changing environment. Today is not about describing the problem statement in detail, rather it is an opportunity to thread local action with state and national policy making and global impact.”
Part of the summit highlighted regional forest health strategies. Sierra Nevada Conservancy’s Angela Avery and Tahoe National Forest Supervisor Eli Ilano discussed the Tahoe Central Sierra Initiative to restore the resilience of 2.4 million acres of Sierra Nevada forests and watersheds.
The plan includes everything from thinning trees so there is not as much fuel to restoring meadows, which are a natural fire break.
The afternoon focused on local and regional efforts, with a panel that highlighted connections between recreation and climate resilience, local economy, and land stewardship, with Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship, Protect Our Winters, and the South Yuba River Public Safety Cohort featured. Also on the panel were Tahoe Youth Action Team and Chairman Serrell Smokey with the Washoe Tribe.
In addition, the summit included discussions about sustainable ways to finance climate resilience projects.
Other participants throughout the day included the Sierra Business Council, Climate Transformation Alliance, Blue Forest Conservation, and the Truckee River Watershed Council.
~ Nevada County press release
Trails Foundation, Partners Unveil New Sawtooth Trails
Over the past three years, the Truckee Trails Foundation, in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service, has been striving to bring new trail experiences to the Sawtooth Zone south of Truckee, just outside the Ponderosa Palisades neighborhood. So far this year, the Truckee Trails crew has built three new trails in the zone and a total of 8.5 miles of trail over the past three years.
“The work began on the tail of the Big Jack East Fuel Reduction project which reduced the risk of wildfire in the zone by clearing out fuel loadings,” said Chris Parker, Truckee Trails president. “This left a clean slate for new, sustainable trail building.”
New trails this year include the Crosscut Trail, connecting Gentle Jeffrey and Sawtooth trails, the Back-cut Trail, connecting Happy Face with the West Side Trail at Schaffer’s Mill, and the Sawyer Trail, connecting the Back-cut Trail with the West Side Trail.
Three more trails are planned for this zone, likely completed in 2024. Many of these will serve as important connections between neighborhoods like Sierra Meadows, Ponderosa Palisades, Schaffer’s Mill, and Martis Camp, both to town and to each other. Importantly, Truckee Trails is also working with the High Fives Foundation to ensure trails, both new and existing, are suitable for adaptive mountain bikers.
Next up, Truckee Trails will be working with the USFS to kick off a trails plan for the Truckee Ranger District. Truckee Trails embarked on a listening tour this past summer, meeting with user groups to get input on their needs and desires for new trails in the region, and important fixes to existing trails. The results of this tour will serve as a springboard for future trails planning.
Funding partners for this project include Lahontan Community Foundation Fund held at the Parasol Tahoe Community, Martis Camp Foundation, National Forest Foundation, Placer County, Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation, Vail Resorts Epic Promise, and Visit Truckee-Tahoe.
~ Truckee Trails press release
Last Chance to Use BCycle E-Bikes Before Winter
Late last month, Town of Truckee Transportation Program Manager Alfred Knotts took Mayor Lindsay Romack, Nevada County Supervisor Hardy Bullock, Town Manager Jen Callaway, and a team from Good Day Sacramento around Downtown Truckee to show off the town-wide pedal assist electric bikes that are part of its BCycle E-Bike Share Program.
Since the launch at the end of June, the BCycle e-bikes have been ridden over 18,185 miles. That is enough to bike the U.S. coast to coast more than seven times and has kept over 17,000 pounds of harmful CO2 emissions out of the clean Truckee air.
The BCycle E-Bike Share Program will be wrapping up at the end of the month before winter arrives. Those who haven’t tried one yet, go to truckee.bcycle.com to download the app and locate a bike near you.
~ Town of Truckee press release
Ted Beauchamp Scholarship Awarded to Sierra Strecker
Far West Nordic Ski Education Association is pleased to announce that Sierra Strecker is this year’s recipient of the Ted Beauchamp Scholarship. Strecker is a 15-year-old competitive Nordic skier who goes to Truckee High School and skis for Tahoe Cross-Country.
Last year, she was the CNISSF High School State Champion as a freshman. While skiing for Tahoe Cross-Country, she qualified and represented the Far West division at the 2023 Junior Nationals Nordic ski championship in Fairbanks, Alaska. At her first Junior Nationals, Strecker finished as an All-American in two events. She aspires to continue her passion for the sport and turn her skiing into a future career.
This scholarship was established in 1998 by the Beauchamp family and the Far West Nordic Ski Education Association in memory of Ted Beauchamp, a longtime supporter of cross-country skiing and a dedicated member of the Far West board of directors.
Beauchamp had a deep love for the outdoors and a passion for Nordic skiing, which he passed on to others. Beauchamp taught and coached many local youths and helped pass on his love for skiing. Far West Nordic’s annual Billy Dutton Uphill helps fund the scholarship. Following the success of this spring’s Billy Dutton Uphill, Far West was able to increase the amount of this year’s scholarship grant from $1,500 to $2,000.
~ Far West press release
Moving In, Moving On, Moving Up
Sierra State Parks Foundation Seeks New Executive Director
Rounding out its 49th year, the Sierra State Parks Foundation looks back fondly on almost five decades of philanthropy and community building. It began when a scrappy, local grassroots group of women resolved to save the impending demolition of the Hellman-Ehrman Mansion at Sugar Pine Point State Park. The group would later become an incorporated cooperating association supporting California State Parks in 1974, adopting other local state parks in the Tahoe/Truckee region to preserve and protect.
Since then, the foundation has fostered a welcoming experience at the eight state parks it serves throughout the Lake Tahoe and the Donner Lake region. The Sierra State Parks Foundation operates park visitor centers and the historic house tours of the Hellman-Ehrman Mansion (Sugar Pine Point State Park) and Vikingsholm Castle (Emerald Bay State Park), funds free-of-cost educational programs for visitors and students of all ages, restores historic landmarks, supports environmental restoration projects, and hosts a robust events calendar to foster memorable experiences. The foundation creates welcoming visitor experiences for over 1.5 million visitors and returns over $500,000 to the parks annually.
The foundation is seeking an inclusive, strategic, and collaborative leader to set the course for the next 50 years. Heidi Doyle, current ED, is retiring. The new executive director will guide and expand the foundation’s impact through a partnership-driven approach based on vision and a belief in the power of our state parks to create welcoming and enriching experiences for all. For more information on this unique and exciting opportunity, visit sierrastateparks.org/employment.
~ Sierra State Parks Foundation press release
Safeway to Replace Save Mart, Property Owners Speak Out
Details continue to emerge since the Sept. 20 announcement by Save Mart that the grocery store was being forced to vacate its Tahoe City location after 50 years of operation.
On Oct. 3, Safeway, a child company of Albertsons, announced that it would take over the property at 100 W. River Rd., moving from its current store in the Lighthouse Shopping Center.
“We look forward to revamping the building into a refreshed state-of-the-art facility with aesthetic upgrades, modernized interior, and an expanded range of offerings designed to meet the evolving needs of our customers,” wrote Wendy Gushall, a spokesperson for Safeway, in an email. “We are proud to continue serving the Tahoe City community and anticipate the new store will open in the summer of 2024.”
In a statement shared with Moonshine Ink, Save Mart representatives have been clear that the property owners’ decision to not renew the grocery store’s lease “came as a shock and we are deeply disappointed. The landlord has been unresponsive to our proposals including lease renewal and purchase.”
EJ Belding of the Bechdolt Company, owner of the property in question, spoke with the Ink further about the situation. “[Save Mart’s] lease expires at the end of this year. Bechdolt Company has contracted a new lease with Safeway Stores. Consequently, beginning in 2024, Safeway Stores will be remodeling and refurbishing the existing building … When completed, this renovation will be a new and refreshing experience for shoppers of Tahoe City and the surrounding areas.”
The same day as the Save Mart announcement, a demolition permit application was submitted to Placer County by KDC Construction, which contracts with grocery stores (including Save Mart) all over California for renovation. The project description stated a complete demo of the existing building, then new structures, tenant improvements, and accessories.
“Placer County did receive an application for demolition of the Save Mart building and foundation,” Placer County’s Building Services Manager Gabe Armstrong said. “After reviewing the application, it was determined that application did not meet the requirements that this type of permit requires and has not been issued. As of now, no other applications for building permits related to this location have been received or issued.”
Of the application, Belding said Bechdolt Company did “not authorized any such work and will not pursue any demolition. The existing building shall remain and will be remodeled.”
The property at 100 W. River Road has been owned by the Bechdolt family since the 1960s. In 1968, they contracted a lease with Lucky Stores, aka Save Mart, which built today’s structure. “Albertsons then took over the lease from 1998 to 2007. From 2007 to present day, Save Mart has occupied the building. It should be noted that Save Mart was recently purchased by a private equity group in March of 2022.”
Belding told Moonshine that Bechdolt Company is committed to keeping Tahoe City as a Lake Tahoe icon and a great experience for all to enjoy.
Save Mart continues to operate its store in Truckee on Deerfield Drive. Its Tahoe City location will close on Oct. 18.
Ski California Member Resorts Share Planned Opening Dates, What’s New
With the weather already starting to signal winter’s imminent return, Ski California’s 35 member resorts in California and Nevada are preparing for the upcoming season with new lifts, major renovations, the return of signature and industry events, and more. In addition, Ski California will launch a new website, build on the success of its award-winning digital Mountain Safety Guide with new video content focused on deep snow safety, and host its sixth annual Ski California Safety Day on Jan. 27, 2024.
Last winter, Ski California resorts experienced their second snowiest on record, with one resort offering a historic 275-day season. Cumulatively, Ski California resorts also recorded over eight million visits during the 2022/23 season, making California the second most visited state in the country for skiing and riding.
Highlights of what’s new and projected opening dates (weather and conditions permitting) at some of the resorts in California and Nevada for the 2023/24 season include:
ASC XC Training Center: Installed LED nights and will offer cross-country night skiing on a 1.5-kilometer loop and stadium area. Phase two, to be completed in 2024, will add an additional 2 kilometers of night skiing, expanding opportunities for student XC athletes and passholders. Night competitions will be added to its extensive race calendar. Opens: Nov. 3
Boreal / Woodward Tahoe: With GoTime Tickets at Boreal, you pick the time you want to start and you can save money by choosing a later start time in the day. Play Forever Fridays happen once a month with $25 lift tickets for all, with $5 of each ticket sale going back to a local nonprofit. Opens: Nov. 17
Diamond Peak: Diners in the Base Lodge Provisions food court will notice the newly remodeled space, redesigned for function and aesthetics up front, and efficient food storage and prep areas in the back. The resort also upgraded to an efficient new PistenBully 600 W winch cat that offers higher power and torque output with reduced exhaust emissions and low fuel consumption. Opens: Dec. 7
Granlibakken Tahoe: Opens: Nov. 23 for sledding, Dec. 15 for lifts
Homewood Mountain Resort: Now operated by Discovery Land Company, the resort continues to offer a family-friendly mountain with limited crowds and stunning views of Lake Tahoe. With the start of the new season, Homewood will introduce refreshed culinary offerings at its dining venues and enhanced on-mountain snow experiences. Opens: mid-December
Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe: To complement massive investments the resort has made over the past several years in new lifts, trail improvements, and snowmaking, Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe is focused on refreshing other elements of the guest experience. For the 2023/24 winter season, guests will enjoy a new deck at the top of the new Lakeview Express lift, new furniture and a servery remodel in the Lodgepole Cafe, a heated ramp from the parking lot to the ticket windows at main lodge, and new technology to improve the experience on the resort’s website. Mt. Rose has also purchased two new PistenBully snow grooming machines and two new snowmaking towers. Opens: Nov. 9
Northstar California: Experience Vous, the new café-bar in the Village at Northstar, featuring service from first chair to last call. Use the new My Epic App to skip the ticket window and go straight to the lifts. Mobile tickets and passes will be scanned hands-free, straight from your pocket using Bluetooth Low Energy technology. Opens: Nov. 17
Palisades Tahoe: Palisades Tahoe will again host one of four U.S. stops of the Audi FIS World Cup, featuring world-class athletes, music headliners, fireworks, parades, and more. Major investments include a multi-million dollar makeover of the Gold Coast mid-mountain lodge and the creation of new dining options, a new Funitel haul rope, five new PistenBully snowcats and new winch picks to offer superior grooming, and the acquisition of two new properties dedicated to housing resort employees. Opens: Nov. 22
Soda Springs: Play Forever Fridays happen once a month with $25 lift tickets for all, with $5 of each ticket sale going back to a local nonprofit. Opens: Nov. 24
Sugar Bowl: The first ski area in California to install a chairlift and open for downhill skiing in December 1939, Sugar Bowl Resort has been known for its “classic cool” style ever since. This season, Sugar Bowl is celebrating its 85th anniversary, welcoming new talent to its leadership team, and investing in the on-mountain experience with new snow grooming and transportation equipment, a new ski racing speed venue, a warming hut and a sweetened offering at the Sugar Rush tubing and snow play park, and new and returning signature events. Opens: Nov. 24
Tahoe Donner: The Downhill Ski Resort will expand its kids programs and senior race program. At the XC Ski Center, a new XC Masters Training Group will take place Friday mornings, and the resort plans to be the first to fire up its dedicated snowmaking system to get the season underway and offer high-quality early-season trail conditions. Opens: XC on Nov. 24; downhill opens as conditions permit
Tahoe Cross Country: The Tahoe Cross Country Ski Area and Ski Education Association will continue to offer year-round, outdoor-focused programs for children and adults. Opens: Dec. 15
~ Ski California press release
WinterWonderGrass Tahoe Lineup Announced, Tickets Go on Sale for April Festival
The voices of not one, but two Sierras — Ferrell and Hull — will echo through the Sierra Nevada mountains when the eighth annual WinterWonderGrass Tahoe festival takes place April 5 to 7 at Palisades Tahoe ski resort. Ferrell is one of four featured headliners; the Devil Makes Three, The Infamous Stringdusters, and Paul Cauthen also top the list of bluegrass, jamgrass, Americana, and roots-music performers appearing at the family-friendly festival, for which VIP and general-admission tickets are on sale.
The Palisades Tahoe gathering celebrates music, brews, and mountains. It’s also designed to build a community that inspires — and draws inspiration from — artistic creativity, the beautiful setting on Washoe tribe ancestral lands, and each participant.
In addition to Ferrell, Cauthen and The Stringdusters, the Kitchen Dwellers, Andy Frasco & the U.N., Lindsay Lou, Sam Grisman Project, WinterWonderWomen, Pickin’ on the Dead, Clay Street Unit, Shadowgrass and RiverWonderGrass All-Stars are coming back. They’ll be joined by Lil Smokies, the supergroup Mighty Poplar, featuring Andrew Marlin, Noam Pikelny, Chris Eldridge, and Greg Garrison (of Watchhouse, the Punch Brothers, and Leftover Salmon, respectively), Diggin’ Dirt, Tejon Street Corner Thieves, Two Runner, Caltucky, Boot Juice, Cast Iron, and Broken Compass Bluegrass.
In addition to afternoon sets on the outdoor stages (all in heated tents), several performers will appear at separately ticketed Grass After Dark events, to be announced in January.
Children are welcome and encouraged to enjoy activities at the bustling Kids Zone. (All festival goers under age 18 must be accompanied by their legal guardian at all times.)
WinterWonderGrass maintains a careful focus on sustainability, including partnering with Minimal Impact, a sustainable lifestyle company, and taking all possible steps to reduce its environmental impact. In addition to recycling, the festival supplies reusable cups, asks festivalgoers to bring reusable food-service items, and bans single-use plastics. WinterWonderGrass also works closely with and supports local nonprofits in each location.
For more information or to purchase tickets, visit winterwondergrass.com.
~ WinterWonderGrass press release