Imagine driving over the majestic waters of Emerald Bay on a bridge, then getting onto a four-lane freeway that navigates the circumference of Lake Tahoe. This was the plan for the Basin in the early 1960s, the threat of which prompted the formation of the League to Save Lake Tahoe.

Like the opposition to various developments today, developers in the ’60s wanted to take the Basin’s population from 12,000 to 200,000 by 1984. But local resisdents joined together, eventually convincing policymakers to drop the plans. The League to Save Lake Tahoe, which was founded in 1957, still has the same mission — to protect and restore environmental health, sustainability, and the scenic beauty of the Lake Tahoe Basin.

The fight over Emerald Bay would not be the last for the organization. After the development of the Tahoe Keys in 1959 and all the construction that preceeded and followed the 1960 Winter Olympics, Dr. Charles Goldman reported a decline in the lake’s clarity. But the pressure was on to urbanize the area, which led to the formation of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency in 1969, whose goal was to create a plan to save Lake Tahoe.

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Over the years, the league has succeeded in protecting the Lake Tahoe environment through the following major actions:

1969: Assisted in writing a California law forbidding the dumping of sewage into the lake, requiring it to be transported out of the Basin.

1970: Halted casino growth by banning new casinos and limiting expansions.

1997: Held a forum with President Bill Clinton, which in turn brought in $1.5 billion for environmental restoration of the lake, after clarity began dropping at an alarming rate.

1999: Campaigned for the ban of two-stroke jet skis on the lake, in order to protect the water and air quality of Tahoe.

2008: Implemented boat inspections to protect Tahoe from invasive species.

2010: Collaborated with other community members to advocate the need for a roadway reduction in the Kings Beach Core.

2013: Helped make South Lake Tahoe the first city in Tahoe to ban plastic bags to reduce liter. (Read about Truckee’s own plastic bag ban here.)

Author

  • Karin Carrasco

    Karin Carrasco, Moonshine Ink’s office administrator, has lived in Truckee since 2003 after moving here from New Jersey. Carrasco studied speech communications and journalism at University of Nevada, Reno. Carrasco spends her free time enjoying her passion for dance at InnerRhythms and she also volunteers with the Truckee Donner Historical Society as well as Trails & Vistas.

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