‘Kings Beach Bear’ Killed in Confrontation
After making headlines in 2020 by entering local businesses on Lake Tahoe’s North Shore, including a Safeway and a Chevron convenience store, the 15-year-old male black bear known as the “Kings Beach Bear” was shot and killed in an Alpine County campground this past summer.
In early August, a California Department of Fish and Wildlife biologist and wildlife officer responded to calls of a large black bear shot and killed at a campground in Alpine County near Hermit Valley.
A large family with many small children was camping in the area when a large black bear approached the campsite repeatedly during the early evening and late hours of the night. Multiple attempts to shoo the bear away proved unsuccessful.
The campsite was clean and the family had properly stored and secured all food and garbage. Fearing for its safety, the family shot and killed the bear when it approached their campsite yet again, and reported the shooting to officials. The family was distraught when CDFW showed up to investigate.
At the scene, CDFW officials identified the bear unmistakably as the Kings Beach Bear. The bear had been tagged and released into the remote habitat of El Dorado County in the fall of 2020 with the hopes that it’d transition back to a natural diet and life in the wild. Rather, the bear was unable to adjust, and, having once weighed more than 500 pounds, was a shell of his former self and completely emaciated with rotten teeth when the CDFW inspected the carcass.
CDFW wildlife officers ruled the shooting justified, and CDFW biologists consider this to be solid, empirical evidence and a traumatic case study about the inability of human food-conditioned bears to successfully transition to life in the wild.
For tips and best practices to keep Tahoe’s bears from becoming accustomed and dependent on human food sources, visit Keep Tahoe Bears Wild at tahoebears.org, and read Our Neigh-bears are Threatened, published this past July, for advice from BEAR League executive director Ann Bryant.
~ CDFW blog
Caldor Post-Fire BAER Assessment Report Released
ELDORADO NATIONAL FOREST
The USDA Forest Service has released a summary of its post-fire assessment for emergency stabilization measures and actions on National Forest System lands burned by the Caldor Fire on the Eldorado National Forest and the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit.
The emergency treatments and activities are designed to decrease possible impacts to critical values from the burned area such as life and safety, property, critical natural resources, and cultural resources.
Review the incident overview and full report at inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/7842.
~ Eldorado National Forest news alert
101-Year-Old Skiing Legend Honored
Palisades Tahoe and the SNOW Sports Museum honored Martin Hollay on Nov. 2. The 101-year old former ski patroller, originally from Hungary, has contributed much to the ski industry. He had an important role in the 1960 Winter Olympic Games, which were held at Palisades Tahoe. He built the Cross Country Ski Track, and still participates in cross country skiing. Hollay served as a ski patroller for many decades, and contributed greatly to the formation of the Heavenly Ski Patrol.
A ceremony was held in The Village at Palisades Tahoe, where Hollay told stories from his long history on snow to the small crowd in attendance. Dee Byrne, president and COO of Palisades Tahoe, presented Hollay with a metal sculpture made from old lift parts from the resort and a complimentary Palisades Tahoe season pass, as attendees sang “Happy Birthday” (Hollay turned 101 that week). Eddy Ancinas, a board member of the future SNOW Sports Museum and an IOC guide at 1960 Winter Olympics, said the museum plans to tell the stories of Hollay and other legendary characters who have worked behind the scenes to make the ski community what it is today. Her husband, Osvaldo, who was a competitor at the 1960 Winter Olympics, closed the ceremony with a striking yodel.
~ Palisades Tahoe email
Grassroots Effort to Stop Mine Reopening
Mine Watch NC is rallying troops to oppose the reopening of the former gold-producing Idaho-Maryland Mine, which was closed in 1956 after a century of on-and-off operation. The Rise Gold Corp is seeking a use permit from Nevada County’s board of supervisors to recommence mining at 1,000 tons of gold per day. Currently, county staff is compiling a draft Environmental Impact Report, expected to be released to the public in 2022 (though no specific date is known).
“That’s when the Nevada County supervisors will have a chance to, for the first time, see what the potential impacts are,” Traci Sheehan of Mine Watch NC told Moonshine Ink. “Following that will be public hearings and a final decision by the board of supervisors … They’re basically saying yes [or no]; we [are or aren’t] granting a use permit.”
The community campaign is focused on educating the public about the mine and building the number of supporters. Monthly webinars are being held, with November’s topic about impacts to air quality (the event will be over Zoom on Nov. 18 at 6 p.m).
Spearheaded by Community Environmental Advocates Foundation, Mine Watch NC includes participating organizations like Sierra Club, South Yuba River Citizens League, Friends of Bear River, and more.
According to Rise Gold, the Idaho-Maryland Mine was first discovered in 1851, with mining beginning in 1863. From 1865 to 1892, the mine operated as the leading gold producer in the United States. To review Rise Gold Corp’s preliminary project design, visit risegoldcorp.com/i-m-project-project-design.
For more information and event registration, visit minewatchnc.org/events.
2021 California Climate Adaptation Strategy Released for Public Review
On Oct. 18, California released its draft 2021 California Climate Adaptation Strategy for public comment. Building upon successes and shortcomings of the initial climate adaptation strategy in 2009, this draft outlines the state’s sector-specific plans to address climate adaptation and includes timelines and success metrics for each specific action. The 2021 strategy is undergoing internal review, and the state invites the public to provide input that will inform the approach to finalizing the plan.
Public review and comment will be accepted through mail and email up to Nov. 17. Following the period of public comment, the state will review and release the final strategy as an interactive website rather than a stagnant document.
Send written input by:
Mail: California Natural Resources Agency, 715 P St., Sacramento, CA 95814
~ Sierra Nevada Alliance news alert
Placer County Extends Free Public Transportation Services
NORTH LAKE TAHOE
The Placer County Board of Supervisors has approved the extension of two free public transit programs provided by Tahoe Truckee Area Regional Transit, which services eastern Placer.
Following successful summer and fall pilot programs, nearly $1.4 million will fund winter service of TART’s free on-demand microtransit service, TART Connect, allowing service to continue from Dec. 10 through April 10, 2022. TART’s public bus system will also remain free to ride for a second two-year period.
New to TART Connect’s winter pilot is an expansion of service zones to include resort areas located between Northstar and Kings Beach and from Olympic Valley to Tahoe City. The winter pilot also includes service continuation to Incline Village and Crystal Bay in partnership with Washoe County.
Placer implemented the free bus service in coordination with resort partners, the Town of Truckee, the Truckee Tahoe Airport District, and Washoe County. Over the past two years, free-to-the-rider bus service has been extremely successful with a 20% ridership increase in January 2020 and a 48% increase in February 2020 compared to the prior year.
~ Placer County press release
Emergency Proclamation Issued in Response to Local Housing Crisis
Many employers have remarked that the summer of 2021 was the most difficult housing season the community has ever experienced. Many long-time community members were forced out of their homes and priced out of the housing market altogether, leaving local businesses to adapt and reduce operations (see In Memoriam and Voices of the Displaced to read the stories of long-time locals who’ve had to leave).
As a result, leaders of the Mountain Housing Council, a program of the Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation, adopted an “Emergency Proclamation Regarding Housing,” noting that the current housing crisis is threatening the livelihood and character of the region, its community members, and its businesses.
MHC partners are working to accelerate solutions, including implementing deed-restricted housing programs, placing moratoriums on new short-term rental permits, exploring joint-ownership housing ventures, and growing community-based funding. Over the past four years, they have applied consistent focus, accountability, and resources toward the problem.
These efforts have paid off in a number of ways: Partners recently celebrated the unveiling of 288 new affordable, local workforce housing units within five new developments, and California Senate Bills 9 and 10, for which MHC’s state policy working group previously advocated, were recently signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom. Both promise to increase affordable housing and streamline development throughout Tahoe.
~ MAP news alert
$3 Million Donation to Wildfire-Assistance Organizations
The Dave & Cheryl Duffield Foundation awarded $3 million to 19 organizations assisting with the aftermath of the recent wildfires in the Lake Tahoe Basin area. These funds will help provide supportive care to people and their pets who have been impacted by the fires as well as with the ongoing rescue, rehabilitation, and treatment of animals (primarily wildlife) affected by the fires. This is in addition to the $1 million that was awarded to 29 organizations in the early part of September, bringing the total donation from the Dave & Cheryl Duffield Foundation to $4 million to support the wildfire efforts.
~ Dave & Cheryl Duffield Foundation press release
Resilience Bond Will Finance Restoration to Reduce Wildfire Risk
TAHOE NATIONAL FOREST
World Resources Institute, Blue Forest, National Forest Foundation, US Forest Service, Yuba Water Agency, and the North Yuba Forest Partnership have announced the launch of the second Forest Resilience Bond, the Yuba II FRB. The new FRB on the Tahoe National Forest will finance $25 million in forest resilience and post-fire restoration projects in California’s Sierra Nevada mountains to restore 48,000 forested acres, protect nearby communities, and enhance water security.
~ Tahoe National Forest news alert
Placer County Uses State Funds to Help Build Martis Valley Trail
The Placer County Board of Supervisors gave the Department of Parks and Open Space the green light on Oct. 12 to apply grant funding toward the long-awaited Martis Valley Trail project.
In 2018, California voters said “yes” to Proposition 68, the Parks, Environment, and Water Bond, securing $4 billion in general obligation bonds for California’s parks, natural resources, and restoration projects.
Now, those state funds will be put to use in Martis Valley in the North Lake Tahoe region to support the 10.2 mile paved trail project that will connect the Town of Truckee and the Northstar Village and up to the Brockway summit above Lake Tahoe. Grant funding in the amount of $175,000 will help complete the remaining unbuilt portions of the trail.
~ Placer County press release
Two Nonprofits Merge to Provide Better Data and Resources
Truckee Meadows Healthy Communities is merging with Truckee Meadows Tomorrow to better serve the growing needs of the community and improve quality of life for all in our region. Truckee Meadows Tomorrow will be the official name of the nonprofit moving forward.
“By merging, Truckee Meadows Tomorrow now becomes one of the largest and longest serving nonprofits in Northern Nevada that is focused on improving quality of life for residents,” said Erica Mirich, the group’s executive director. “TMT is known for producing high-impact quality of life data and programming. The merger will allow TMT to use additional resources to not just identify health needs in the community but focus on solutions as well.”
Prior to the merger, Truckee Meadows Healthy Communities advocated for policy changes to improve the health of the community and address factors that lead to health inequities.
The merger was finalized on Oct. 15. The unified operations moving forward will streamline programming, save costs, and encourage collaboration and community building by sharing data, expertise, and resources for their shared constituency.
To track the progress of the combined organizations and access the best compilation of actionable quality of life data for the region, residents are advised to visit truckeemeadowstomorrow.org.
~ TMT, TMHC press release
Internship Program Focuses on Mentorship for Inclusion in STEM
From wildflower blooms to microplastics pollution, 14 students from Nevada’s two-year colleges are spending this fall building career skills by conducting hands-on research alongside Desert Research Institute scientists in Reno and Las Vegas through DRI’s new Research Immersion Internship Program.
DRI’s internship program began in September and runs for 16 weeks. Students have been placed in teams of two to four people, and are working under the direction of DRI faculty mentors. Project themes for the program’s inaugural semester include documentation and analysis of wildflower superblooms (above-average bursts of blooming wildflowers) in the Western U.S., an investigation into the effects of wildfire on water repellency of soils, a study on how microplastic particles can be transported through the air, and a study investigating the effects of obesity on health challenges in mice.
At the end of the semester, the student teams will deliver their project results and receive feedback from their faculty mentors. The end goal is to help foster the next generation of diverse scientists through mentorship, inclusion, and skill-building. For more information on DRI’s Research Immersion Internship Program, visit dri.edu/immersion.
~ DRI press release
Elementary Student Raises Funds for Wildlife Affected by Fires
Glenshire Elementary fifth grader Celia Brown raised $1,800 (and counting) to help the animals affected by the fires initially via a bake sale that the 10-year-old spearheaded independently. Her passion for wildlife affected by the fires inspired “friends and family, near and far,” wrote Celia’s mom, Stacey, and while the original bake sale she planned and ran raised $140, the family helped her start a Facebook page to leverage the support from their community. Within seconds, the page had raised $200 and then within one day it was over $1,500. Eventually, after researching her options, Celia decided to donate most of the money ($1,700) to the Gold Country Wildlife Rescue, which offered the fifth grader and her mom a tour of the facility.
“They were treating not only burn victims from the fire, but any animal that needed to be treated,” Stacey wrote to the Ink. “Being up close and personal to all these wild animals was such an experience for all of us.” Auburn-based Gold Country is currently building a new facility to host more animals. Celia is motivated by passion for wildlife rehabilitation: “I love animals and wildlife, and I just really wanted to help all the animals that have been affected by the fires,” she said. Celia also donated $100 of her raised funds to the Truckee-Tahoe Humane Society, and her efforts are ongoing.