A delegation of approximately 60 city officials, business leaders, and media from Park City, Utah, came to the Reno-Lake Tahoe region in early September 2006. The delegation every fall goes to a different resort area because, explains tour organizer Myles Rademan, ‘Anytime you get out of your own zip code, it opens your eyes.’

fter having some time to digest the trip, we spoke with Rademan to see what he and his team gleaned from their visit to our region.

Moonshine Ink: How did you convince 60 community leaders to hop on a bus and travel so far? (Rademan said the trip was a 12-hour bus ride each way, enough time to watch three movies.)
Rademan: I’ve been doing this for 35 years – it’s become institutionalized. We bring as many people as we do because the more eyes you have, the more changes you’ll see when you get home because you already have a critical mass started.


M: Do you see Reno-Tahoe as a cohesive region? What works? What doesn’t?
R: It’s obviously a region, but there are different parts to it. In Reno, they’re broadening their economy, rather than being almost solely based on gaming revenues. In Northstar, they are redeveloping an entire ski village. In South Lake Tahoe, they are looking at redeveloping their main corridor.
The region is defined almost by a map of the watershed. Who’s connected and why? It’s important to keep communities involved in the process of sharing resources – it’s difficult because we tend to jealously guard our resources. However I think the success of the future will depend on wealth sharing agreements, really power-sharing agreements. Communities will need to figure out mechanisms to more effectively share the wealth. If they don’t spread it around, then they will have social unrest.

M: What top three lessons did the delegation take from the visit?
R: One, we wish we had a lake. We don’t have any water.

Two, we saw great spirit when we were there and that’s important. People care, they are involved, excited, and dedicated. We saw attempts of cooperation across boundaries – government, non-profit groups, local organizations. There’s no guarantee of success but you need to try. Also, our group felt inspired by people’s willingness to share, to open our eyes, to be honest with us.

Three, there is limited development allowed around the lake and it’s a rough land-use system. But we saw good planning in progress. There was strong new urbanist planning in South Lake and Northstar. And the documents I saw for Pathway 2007 are very comprehensive.

M: What advice would you give our area?
R: Constantly working together, discussing issues, and how to work them out is so important. Also, long-range plans can get so long and comprehensive, people get overwhelmed, so I’ve always been into incorporating short-range goal setting as well.

Our group was questioned pretty consistently on our transit system in Park City, which carries two million passengers a year. Looking at Europe with their extensive public transit systems, we see that the difference between here and there is not so much land-use limits, but cultural limits. Europeans accept that mobility is not unlimited, but it’s un-American to have limits. It’s a very deep psychologically embedded hurdle we have to overcome.

M: What, in your opinion, are the major issues facing ski resort towns in this day and age?
R: There are a host of issues all tied to what I call the ‘tragedy of success.’ Ski resorts were successful beyond their wildest dreams and created a dynamic of more and more wealth, pushing working people out, leading to issues of affordable housing and traffic. All of this is leading to the ‘ossification’ of resort towns. Because of real estate prices, as the working class ages, a new generation of people can’t afford to live there any more. And everybody in the place is old, wealthy, and gated – a very different dynamic than the traditional youthful skiing population. Gentrification of these areas is a problem – we lose what was the key attraction of the area to begin with.

~ Interview February 1, 2007


  • Mayumi Peacock

    Hailing from a U.S. military family and a graduate of the University of Florida, Mayumi Peacock has lived in several corners of the country and globe, yet Tahoe/Truckee has been her home since 1999. She is founder and publisher of Moonshine Ink, the region’s award-winning independent newspaper, which continues to be created by, for, and of the community. Other passions include family, animals, books, healthy living, and humane food.

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