Flood watch issued for Memorial Day at Lake Tahoe

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — The Lake Tahoe region has issued a flood watch for Memorial Day at Lake Tahoe due to possible excessive rainfall, officials said.

The National Weather Service in Reno said excessive runoff may result in flooding of rivers, creeks, streams, and other low-lying and flood-prone locations. The flood watch is in effect from 1 p.m. Monday, May 29, and lasts for eight hours.

“Area creeks and streams are running high and could flood with heavy rain,” the service said in the flood advisory. “Extensive street flooding is also possible in urbanized locations. Slow moving thunderstorms may produce areas of heavy rainfall Soils are already saturated with creeks, streams, and rivers running full due to ongoing snowmelt. It will not take as much rain to cause excessive runoff. Also, heavy rainfall may lead to flash flooding and debris flows near burn scars.”

The service is calling for  thunderstorms on Sunday mainly between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. with a 50% chance of precipitation. Isolated thunderstorms and showers are possible before 8 p.m. with precipitation chances dropping to 20%.

On Monday, Memorial Day, the service is calling for an 80% chance of rain with calm winds up to 5 mph.

With an influx of people in the region planning to enjoy the outdoors, it would be wise to have a way to seek shelter in the event of a thunderstorm.

“If a sturdy building is not immediately available, a hard-top vehicle with the windows rolled up can offer good protection from lightning,” the service said in a special weather statement. “If you plan on doing activities that will leave you vulnerable to the elements such as hiking, consider doing the bulk of those activities in the morning hours before afternoon/evening thunderstorms develop.”

Man receives suspended sentence after discharging firearm at Tahoe resort

STATELINE, Nev. — A Clark County man who fired rounds into the ceiling of a hotel room at Lake Tahoe was sentenced to a suspended 24-60 months in prison Monday in Douglas County District Court.

Brenyon Tyree Lindsey, 23 was arrested on Oct. 28, 2022, after Douglas County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to an active shooter call on Ridge Club Drive.

According to court documents, Lindsey and four others were celebrating a birthday at a Lake Tahoe resort. After an argument, Lindsey went out to one of vehicles and grabbed .45 caliber handgun and kicked open the door holding the pistol. He discharged two rounds into the ceiling and pointed it at a member of the party then fired twice more into the ceiling.

Lindsey said his character was out of the ordinary and he acted out of impulse.

“This is an aggregated case on many levels,” said District Court Judge Thomas Gregory. “The circumstances of it were extremely dangerous, this was a resort whether occupied or not and you shot four times.”

Lindsey has no prior convictions.

Inaugural Lake Tahoe Litter Summit brings together environmental leaders

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — The inaugural Lake Tahoe Litter Summit was hosted Thursday, May 18, at the Thunderbird Lodge overlooking the beautiful shores of Lake Tahoe.

The event brought together 50 of Lake Tahoe’s agency leaders and citizens fighting litter in the basin and gave them a common place to discuss the current situation, and solutions that can be implemented to help keep the basin cleaner. 

The summit was hosted by nonprofit Clean Up the Lake, who took a deep dive into the litter problem at Tahoe by collecting more than 25,000 pounds of litter from beneath the surface during a 72-mile circumference cleanup of Lake Tahoe. The agency shared the data with key stakeholders batting the region’s litter issues. 

“I couldn’t be more excited to see our organization taking the results of Lake Tahoe’s 72-mile cleanup, and putting this data in the hands of government and regional leaders who can wok with our team to create significant change,” said CUTL Program Director Sadye Easler. 

The nonprofit’s staff and their consulting scientist, Dr. Zoe Hold, presented the details of their data analysis on the thousands of pounds of litter that was removed from the lake last year. 

Special screenings of the 72 Mile documentary were also held.
Provided/ Clean Up the Lake

In addition, the summit included sneak peak screenings on an environmental feature documentary titled 72 Miles, set to come out in early 2024. There were also presentations of Clean Up the Lake’s data analysis for litter removed from Lake Tahoe, presentations on litter mitigation efforts and concerns, and breakout groups tackling discussions on plausible solutions for littering the basin. 

“The first annual Lake Tahoe Litter Summit was a huge success,” said Chief Strategy Office for the League to Save Lake Tahoe Jesse Patterson. “The conversations and ideas coming out of the first summit lay the groundwork for the next steps to be taken right now.” 

Solutions that were discussed include increasing the face-to-face contact with people when implementing education on the importance of picking up litter, reaching out to youth in order to create better practices  for the future, and creating bilingual and trilingual signage to continue the messaging campaigns to clean up the lake. 

“It’s one thing to perform large scale cleanups in Lake Tahoe and lakes around the world to fix the mistakes of our past, but it represents an even more significant step towards environmental change by using our newfound knowledge to come together and take action now to prevent these issues from happening again in the future,” said Founder/CEO of CUTL Colin West. 

The day concluded with a network event hosted by the Thunderbird Lodge Lake Tahoe and the local brewery Alibi Brewing Company. 

To learn more about Clean Up the Lake, visit cleanupthelake.org

‘The days of hickory clubs, knickers, and patterned socks:’ Historic Tahoe golf course celebrates 100th season

TAHOE VISTA, Calif. — Historic snowfall in Lake Tahoe created a winter wonderland for skiers and snowboarders, but not everyone had fresh powder on their minds.

For Lane Lewis winter storms mean only one thing, it’s time to get out on the golf course.

Several times this winter, the longtime owner and operator of Old Brockway Golf Course had his team remove multiple feet of snow off the nearly 100-year old greens in hopes of again being the first in Tahoe to be ready for spring playing.

“You put the course to bed in fall and you pray that in the spring everything’s good,” said Lewis.

Despite heavy snowfall and atmospheric rivers pummeling the region this past winter, the bentgrass that makes up each of the nine greens on the course saw its first sunlight in April. 

As the blades of grass stretched toward the sun for the first time in months, a smile moved across Lewis’ face while he peered down upon greens that were once graced by the likes of Frank Sinatra and his Rat Pack friends — Old Brockway would again live up to its moniker of being the first to open in the Lake Tahoe.

Old Brockway attracts Tahoe’s elite

Harry Comstock and R.O. Sherman built the Old Brockway Golf Course in the 1920s as an amenity for the Brockway Hotel.

Renowned Scottish architect John Duncan Dunn designed the course, which features small, turtleback greens, short green to tee walking distances, and tight fairways made of bluegrass, ryegrass and fescue 

“The fescue, rye, and bluegrass on the fairways, that’s the exact same fairways they played in 1924,” said Lewis.

The nine-hole course first opened to the public in 1924. Originally Dunn had designed an 18-hole course and eventually 13 holes were completed, including the par-3 18th hole, which ran along the Lake Tahoe shoreline. But during the Great Depression and World War II, the course was barely sustainable, and parts of it, including the 18th hole, were sold.

During those days, Old Brockway, which was one of three available to play in Lake Tahoe, attracted A-listers from the Golden Age of Hollywood, politicians, and members of the criminal world. 

Bing Crosby notably hosted a tournament there with his friends for a small purse. Eventually, the Crosby Clambake grew so large that it was moved to the Monterey Peninsula and continues to this day each year as the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am Golf Tournament.

Other notable players to mingle and walk the grounds of Old Brockway included Dwight Eisenhower, Joseph Kennedy, Dean Martin, Bob Hope, and gambling kingpin Elmer “Bones” Remmer. Even the television series “I Love Lucy” was conceived of during a round of play at Old Brockway.

Old Brockway has been in operation since the 1920s.

Lewis family takes over

In 1978, the Lewis family purchased the course from the Comstock estate. Now four generations later, teenage members of the family are beginning to learn the ins and outs of working at and maintaining the course. 

Today, the layout of Old Brockway remains much the same as it did in the 1920s when Dunn first envisioned a course nestled along the Jeffery Pines of Lake Tahoe’s North Shore.

“He had such a beautiful layout that it withstood the test of time,” said Lewis.

The only things that have changed since those early days, according to Lewis, have been the clubhouse being relocated, tee boxes being placed farther back, and the addition of lady’s tee boxes.

Walking into the clubhouse or the course’s Spindleshanks Restaurant evoke a sense of family — an atmosphere Lewis has nurtured throughout the decades at Old Brockway. 

Each spring he says he looks forward to the annual reunion of players and staff as familiar faces return to the clubhouse. Maintaining and running the course is also a family affair with his sons and grandsons involved in day-to-day operations. 

“We take so much pride in what we do,” said Lewis. “Everyone who works for us is family, whether they’re blood or not.”

A century later

The outbreak of COVID-19 has sparked a renewed interest in the game of golf, and more players than ever are hitting the links.

The industry had a record-breaking year in 2021 in terms of sales and rounds played, and while that may have dipped in 2022, interest in the game remains high.

“In 2021, we reached all-time high sales levels around the world, eclipsing $20 billion in annual sales, with $11.1 billion in golf equipment and $9.0 billion in golf apparel,” said John Krzynowek, Partner, Golf Datatech. “Strong consumer demand for golf products continued into 2022, however several factors constrained the manufacturers’ ability to meet orders during the first three quarters, and then economic woes dragged down the market in Q4.”

At Old Brockway, Lewis stated the three years since the outbreak of COVID-19 have been the busiest ever.

“The last three years have been the best three years we’ve ever had,” he said. “COVID was the best thing that ever happened to the golf industry because it was one of the few things you could do socially and competitively.”

During that time he said former players found a renewed interest in the game, and that the most growth has come from the Millennial demographic.

“Millennials want instant gratification,” said Lewis. “They don’t want to spend four to five hours on a course.”

This summer will mark the 100th year of operation at Old Brockway. Lewis said the course is planning a 100th anniversary party when the course opens for 2024 season.

In the meantime, golfers can take a step in time to the days of hickory clubs, knickers, and patterned socks by heading out to the course once called home by Lake Tahoe’s most prominent visitors and residents.

The nine-hole Old Brockway Golf Course plays at a length of 3,362 yards and features two par 3s, five par 4s, and two par 5s, including the iconic 578-yard seventh hole.

For more information or to book a tee time, visit www.oldbrockway.com.

Editor’s note: This article appears in the 2023 summer edition of Tahoe Magazine.

South Tahoe golfers build a strong foundation

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — South Tahoe Viking golfers Jonny Womack and Sean Molesworth learned the difference between tournament golf and state tournament golf on Tuesday and Wednesday at Toiyabe Golf Club in Washoe Valley. 

The opening round saw both players struggle, with Womack shooting 101 and Molesworth a 110 before both players made dramatic improvement on the final day.

“Tough first day,” said Head Coach Greg Kuntz. “Both kids sprayed a few tee shots, which led to a few big numbers. That’s very uncommon, as they’re both generally very consistent players. Frustration and emotions set in, which is not a good recipe for playing your best golf.”

Both players rebounded on Wednesday to improve their overall finish. Molesworth had the second-best improvement in the field, dropping 19 shots on Wednesday to shoot a 91. Womack improved by 12 shots, finishing with an 89 on Wednesday, good for the 12th best score on the final day. Womack finished the tournament in 22nd place, with Molesworth finishing in 34th in the 46-man field.

“Couldn’t be prouder of how they came back from their rough day on Tuesday. This was a great learning experience for two sophomores who will earn their way back into this event next year to make a run at the top spots,” Kuntz praised. “They’re both great kids and provide the program with a great foundation moving forward.”

Jonny Womack teeing off on the 15th hole on Wednesday at Toiyabe.

Truckee High won the team championship, finishing 10 shots ahead of Fernley High. Southern

representative, Legacy High, finished in third. The individual champion was Legacy High’s Vincent Kyle Forbes, whose 75-79 two-day total of 154 won by seven shots over Fernley’s Jacob Holmes.

The Vikings had a roster of 26 golfers this season, with only a handful of graduating seniors. Kuntz believes the future is bright for the program.

“There were many positives to come out this season,” Kuntz said. “The weather obviously made things rough for kids in South Shore, making practice time very limited and with lots of  travel off the hill required. There are some very dedicated kids in the program. The work they put in this summer will determine how high the ceiling is for the program, but I’m very optimistic that they’ve got great things ahead of them.”

Woman denies 16 more charges in Stateline fentanyl bust

STATELINE, Nev. — A woman set for an Aug. 8-18 trial in Douglas County District Court her involvement in an Oct. 20, 2022, drug bust that sent five deputies to the hospital for fentanyl exposure, denied 16 additional felonies on Monday.

Jessica Thomas, 32, denied charges of high level possession, sale and trafficking of the controlled substance in Douglas County District Court.

During a preliminary hearing in East Fork Justice Court May 5, Thomas was charged with as many as nine major drug transactions. At that hearing, video and audio evidence of Thomas making the transactions were played including one where she is heard complaining about her driver.

As a result, prosecutors amended the complaint to include additional transactions that occurred in Minden, which were upheld May 5.

The new charges are in connection with three 2022 drug sales that allegedly occurred on Aug. 31, Sept. 20 and Oct. 7, which included 1.5 pounds of methamphetamine and almost 6 ounces of fentanyl that sold for $11,400.

The most serious new charge Thomas is facing is a high-level trafficking charge which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years to life in prison.

It has yet to be decided if a second trial will be held or if the cases will be combined. She faces decades in prison if convicted.

Jessica Thomas

Douglas County judge denies preliminary injunction in vacation rental lawsuit

A preliminary injunction was denied against a Lake ridge homeowner who was renting his property for less than the 60 days.

District Judge Tod Young said that the requirement of irreparable harm for a preliminary injunction was not met by the Lakeridge General Improvement District.

“Here the court only heard of varying difficulties with trash, pets and parking congestion with alleged diminution of property value being speculative during the hearing,” Young wrote in his ruling. “As the court observed during the hearing, such issues can be addressed without lasting damage pending trial. In addition, the court has no indication that monetary compensation cannot adequately address any inconvenience or nuisance pending trial.”

A three-day trial in Matthew Kvancz’ lawsuit against Lakeridge General Improvement District over that rule that prevents homeowners from renting for fewer than 60 days is scheduled for Feb. 21, 2024.

Douglas County commissioners are expected to hear the second reading at their June 1 meeting. His permit to operate a vacation home rental was revoked after the county determined it violated Lakeridge’s deed restrictions.

Historically, the county doesn’t involve itself in disputes over deed restrictions or covenants, codes and restrictions, which are typically civil actions.

Under the rental code in effect, an owner of a vacation home rental has to sign a statement confirming it’s not deed restricted or located in an area governed by a homeowners association or covenants, conditions and restrictions.

Under the current code permits won’t be issued where those conditions are in place.

Douglas County is in the process of revising its vacation home rental code that will include that owners are required to notify a homeowners association as a precondition of permit approval. It’s up to the owner to determine what those conditions are, under the proposed revision.

The vacation home rental ordinance was the subject of a federal lawsuit that was filed by nine homeowners to prevent it from being implemented on July 15, 2021.

Vacation rentals are prohibited outside of the Lake Tahoe Basin under the ordinance. In East Fork, a special use permit for a bed and breakfast is required to conduct short-term rentals. While breakfast isn’t necessary for approval, a public hearing before the Douglas County Planning Commission is. Residents seeking a permit in East Fork, which includes all of Douglas County outside of the basin, are required to be on the property while it’s being rented.

California State Parks at Lake Tahoe open for season

TAHOE CITY, Calif. — Sierra State Parks Foundation announced on Friday the reopening of the California State Parks in the Lake Tahoe – Donner Lake area. This Memorial Day weekend, Saturday, May 27, marks the opening date until facilities close for the winter on Sept. 31. The following parks’ day use areas are reopened as of Saturday: 

  • Sugar Pine Point State (including Visitor Center),
  • Emerald Bay State Park (including Visitor Center),
  • Kings Beach State Recreation Area,
  • Tahoe State Recreation Area,
  • Donner Memorial State Park (including Visitor Center).

D.L. Bliss State Park and Visitor Center are closed for the season due to ongoing work to upgrade its water system. The Emerald Bay parking lot, adjacent to Highway 89, is open. Campground reopenings are still currently delayed. Visit reservecalifornia.com for the most up-to-date information. 

In addition, historic house tours led by knowledgeable docents are available for Vikingsholm Castle and the Hellman-Ehrman Mansion (Pine Lodge) begin May 27. Vikingsholm Castle is a unique example of Scandinavian architecture in California; Pine Lodge will transport tour takers to the bygone days I.W. Hellman (once Vice President of Wells Fargo) and his family experienced in their summer home.

For more information about tours, visit SierraStateParks.org.

Tahoe Gear Exchange offering sustainable, affordable access to outdoor recreation

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — With the spring season well underway, businesses and Tahoe locals are ramping up production for summer-centric outdoor recreation. To get involved in some of the outdoor activities that Lake Tahoe hosts year-round, it can be a substantial cost. 

Tahoe Gear Exchange is proactively working towards making the investment in outdoor recreation more feasible, along with repurposing recycled gear to increase overall accessibility to participate and enjoy outdoor recreation. 

“I come from a climbing gym background, hence my love for the outdoors and sports overall,” Andrew Zaslove, owner and founder of Tahoe Gear Exchange said. “I wanted to open up a retail store to do something different and get more people into the outdoors.” 

With a desire to engage more people in the outdoors, Zaslove was originally inspired by hosting his own “gear shop” out of his own home.

Tahoe Gear Exchange offers gently used outdoor recreation equipment, clothing, and goods to the South Lake Tahoe community.
Provided / Tahoe Gear Exchange

“I realized over the past couple of years that I had been collecting my own gear to help entice my friends to get more into participating in outdoor sports like mountain biking, climbing, and paddle boarding, which resulted in me having my own gear store at my house,” Zaslove said. “I was inspired to further pursue that dream and extend the opportunity to make accessible outdoor recreation possible, so I found a space to open a shop.” 

After securing a store space, Zaslove quickly continued paving the way with collecting used outdoor gear leading up to opening the doors of Tahoe Gear Exchange and with offering recycled equipment, offers the ability to provide a financially accessible entry point to enjoy outdoor recreation. 

“The beautiful part about Tahoe Gear Exchange is most of our price points go anywhere from 25-50% off MSRP,” Zaslove said. “It’s a really affordable way to get into a new sport, upgrade your gear in a sport you’re already doing, and maybe just find some gear you didn’t know you needed previously.”

Tahoe Gear Exchange is located at 1076 Emerald Bay Road in South Lake Tahoe, Calif.
Provided / Tahoe Gear Exchange

Zaslove has always been rooted in the mountain culture, he has been a part of the South Lake Tahoe community as a local for more than four years, and was previously living in Colorado for over six years. 

Working towards providing accessibility in outdoor recreation, Zaslove is also passionate about providing a space for community members to donate their used goods and equipment so they can be reused instead of thrown away. 

“There’s a lot of local vendors, businesses, and brand representatives that go through a lot of products in retail, and it’s either going to the landfill or the Goodwill,” Zaslove said. “This is a space where we can have a brick and mortar destination to get outdoor recreation gear and goods to the public that want these products.” 

With a professional background in management and retail, Zaslove was originally inspired to open Tahoe Gear Exchange by traveling to similar stores in the country. 

“In a recreation-dense town such as South Lake Tahoe, I thought it’d be a great place to open a business like Tahoe Gear Exchange and see how it can provide goods to the community,” Zaslove said. “Being located on the ‘Y’ side of South Lake Tahoe was very important to me, I wanted to open up a “local’s first” store, where locals can come trade out their used gear and come upgrade their gear.” 

Tahoe Gear Exchange offers gently used outdoor recreation equipment, clothing, and goods to the South Lake Tahoe community.
Provided / Tahoe Gear Exchange

Looking forward, Tahoe Gear Exchange is eager to serve the South Lake Tahoe community year-round. Currently, the business is openly taking donations and selling summer recreation gear, and is planning to switch to winter gear during the winter months. 

“Right now we are doing a two-season swap each spring and fall, bringing in summer gear during the spring season and winter gear during the fall season,” Zaslove said. “This winter, we are planning to carry over 750 pairs of skis, snowboards, and boots. We plan to be the go-to ski and snowboard shop this upcoming winter season.” 

Tahoe Gear Exchange serves as a hub for used outdoor equipment, but also offers educational materials to their customers to fully learn about the sport.

“We offer a full library of guidebooks on skiing, guiding, climbing, and more with material in the books offering information on trails across the country,” Zaslove said. “If you’re going anywhere for a weekend trip or even just want to brainstorm a new trip, we’ve got you covered.” 

Tahoe Gear Exchange also offers repairs on outdoor gear such as tents, zippers, buckles, and cords to keep gear durable and reliable throughout the summer season. 

“I hope Tahoe Gear Exchange will get more people into the outdoors and get more people into more hobbies that they were otherwise unable to afford or were too afraid to try,” Zaslove said. “Tahoe hosts a lot of individuals that are in the service and hospitality industry, that’s where I originally come from as well, and it’s tough living up here. If we can all get out and play more before and after work, I think the livelihood of this town will greatly increase.” 

Tahoe Gear Exchange offers gently used outdoor recreation equipment, clothing, and goods to the South Lake Tahoe community.
Provided / Tahoe Gear Exchange

Tahoe Gear Exchange will be celebrating their grand opening party from 4 – 8 p.m. Friday, May 26, where they will be hosting a small vendor village along with free food and drinks, and an official grand opening celebration at 6 p.m. 

For more information on Tahoe Gear Exchange, visit tahoegearexchange.com, call 530-600-0303, or visit Tahoe Gear Exchange at 1076 Emerald Bay Road in South Lake Tahoe, Calif. 96150. 

Real Estate: Fixer upper or tear down – it’s in the eye of the beholder

One of the first questions that a real estate agent asks a buyer is, “are you willing to look at fixer uppers or do you want something that is move-in ready?” The vast majority of people purchasing a vacation home are not interested in taking on a major remodeling project or building from scratch. It’s one thing to do minor cosmetic work like paint and carpet or replace a few appliances. But moving walls, redesigning staircases, adding a garage, building additions and other major adventures are not within the scope of most second homeowners.

While Incline Village is a master planned community that does not mean all of the single-family residences were constructed during the same era. Looking at the older construction, we have a lot of properties in our community from the 1960s through 1980s and some could best be described as vintage. There are places that exhibit nice architecture, have a good floor plan and could just use some updating. Other homes cry out for a bulldozer and a new set of plans.

Before we are deluged by comments from readers, there are a lot of charming older homes and cabins on the North Shore of Lake Tahoe. Many of these blend in beautifully with the environment and actually fit better than some of the oversized properties built during the dot com and real estate booms. When well maintained or nicely restored, they exude that Tahoe charm which owners and visitors alike are very fond of.

Some older neighborhoods such as the Millcreek and Woods subdivisions have predominantly large level lots. When looking at original homes in these neighborhoods, especially those built before 1979 when there were major changes to the building code, many buyers debate, “is this place a fixer-upper or a tear down?” With such large lots and potentially substantial amounts of impervious coverage, the concept of tearing down and building a new home that is energy efficient and structurally more sound does have a great deal of merit.

In most parts of the country tearing down an older home and building a new one is a pretty straightforward process. However, with the complicated and sometimes convoluted land coverage regulations in the Tahoe basin, building a new structure from the ground up can often be a daunting task. An entire industry of TRPA consultants has grown up around the need for property owners and builders to be able to understand and comply with the complex regulations.

Homes built in the 1960s and early 1970s that are still in original condition will likely have single pane windows, minimal insulation and were built with different standards versus today. Whether it is worthwhile to do a major remodeling project on a home constructed during that time will depend on a number of factors. Having a good contractor who can walk through the property and evaluate the pluses and minuses will go a long way towards making a sound decision. Some older homes have great bones and lend themselves to a remodeling project, which would cost far less than a tear down and rebuild.

You may hear a property referred to as a “livable fixer upper.” This refers to a place that while dated and in need of some repairs, is perfectly fine to live in while you work on your remodeling ideas. It is always best to live in a property for at least a few months whenever possible before you do major remodeling work. Very often your original ideas will change after living in a place and getting a feel for the traffic flow, sunlight and other intangibles that are difficult to visualize when you are out shopping for properties.

Sabrina Belleci is broker/owner of RE/MAX GOLD.

Sabrina Belleci

Wander Over Yonder: Take to Carson Valley’s trails for a different view (Opinion)

Living in northern Nevada, we are fortunate to have such easy and plentiful access to the great outdoors. It’s proven that getting outside and spending time in nature is good for both our physical and our mental health. And lucky for us, there’s no shortage of amazing trail systems in our region.

Lake Tahoe’s systems incorporate unparalleled vistas and views, encompassing the lake and beyond with seemingly endless possibilities. What could be your next favorite trail might be just waiting for you down the road in Carson Valley. With more than 70 miles of trails, these systems canvas the region offering unique views of the valley, the Eastern Sierra and beyond at all ability levels and best yet – most are accessible all year-round. A trek to Carson Valley offers a chance to explore and appreciate yet another side of Nevada’s natural beauty from two wheels.

Genoa Canyon Trail Views
Provided / Amy Demuth

Carson Valley’s trails offer accessibility in many ways. The Clear Creek trail system covers 30 miles and includes the 22-mile Clear Creek, the 2-mile Clear Creek Connector and the 6-mile Jacks Valley Loop trails. Load-in and load-out locations include Spooner Summit, Clear Creek Connector, Jacks Valley Road, or the Jacks Valley School or the James Lee Park trailheads. Many of the lower elevation sections of this trail are accessible year-round, maybe this past winter being an exception. Several are new to the system. Hiking, biking, running, and equestrians are all welcome however check the trail maps for best locations if you are hitting the trails hard or leisurely. For the hardcore riders, there are plenty of miles on this flowy, moderate trail system that can quickly have you working up a sweat.

The Genoa Trail System is popular for its challenging climbs, beautiful vistas and diversity in terrain. Open to hikers, equestrians, mountain bikers the system includes just over 17 miles of trails in the Genoa area. The Sierra Canyon Trail offers a 10-mile one-way climb to the Tahoe Rim Trail with views of Lake Tahoe that will leave other envious. This trail system is perfect for bikers looking for a more technical and scenic challenge, however biking on the lower portion of the Genoa Loop trail is not recommended due to its switchbacks and steep drop-offs. This set of trails is a great way for experienced mountain bikers to get in a full day ride and a payoff that’s nothing short of perfect – a cold drink at the oldest established saloon in Nevada, the Genoa Bar.

Jacks Valley Loop Trail.
Provided / Amy Demuth

For day hikers, the Fay-Luther and Jobs Peak Ranch Trails system is a phenomenal trail system. With about nine miles of trails to choose from in this group of loops and connecting trails, it’s a place to come back time and time again and get a new experience each time.

On the other side of Carson Valley are some lesser-known trails and hidden treasures for outdoor enthusiasts looking for something a little less traversed. The Pinyon Trail is a 5-mile roundtrip loop located about seven miles outside of Gardnerville. A non-motorized trail, it’s open to hikers, bikers, equestrians, the trail offers nice views of the Pine Nut and Carson Ranges and offers some shade in pinyon pines and junipers throughout. For those on ATVs and other motorsports, the Pine Nut Range offers miles of unmarked and endless trails that head into BLM land.

The most ideal times for Carson Valley’s trail is spring to early summer and fall to early winter. For anyone exploring with their pup, spring offers plentiful water for the dogs and makes for beautiful scenery with the lush spring greens and bright wildflowers exploding all over the landscape. In fall, the temperatures cool off with still enough light to provide plenty of time to enjoy Nevada’s fall colors.

Sierra Canyon Trail, Genoa, Nevada
Provided / Amy Demuth

No matter why you choose to get outside and hit the trails – mental clarity, physical health, or any other reason – Carson Valley’s trails are definitely worth “wandering over yonder.”

Kate Blake was raised in Carson Valley and is a nurse and trail enthusiast. She grew up hiking all over Nevada with her dad, developing a love for the outdoors. Kate has helped develop trails throughout Carson Valley including sections of the Clear Creek and Genoa Trails Systems. Kate still hikes at least once a week with her number one trail partner, her dog, Cash.

TRPA recognizes 6 Lake Spirit Award winners

STATELINE, Nev. — The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency on Wednesday recognized six individuals who have shown exceptional commitment to protecting Lake Tahoe as this year’s Lake Spirit Award winners.

The recipients this year include one North Shore and one South Shore recipient for each of the three categories of Citizen, Agency Representative, and Lifetime Achievement, the agency said today.

Since 2011, TRPA has celebrated the Lake Spirit Awards to recognize individuals in our community, exemplary citizens, and agency representatives who not only demonstrate a strong commitment to Lake Tahoe’s environment, but also model a spirit of collaboration. 

“A spirit of care and protection has run with Tahoe’s land and waters starting with the Washoe Tribe millennia ago,” TRPA Executive Director Julie Regan said. “By going above and beyond for the lake and our communities, these individuals truly embody the Lake Spirit. We are grateful for their innovation and commitment.”

This year’s awardees are:


  • Helen Neff, “Take It Slow, Tahoe” campaign, citizen leader on traffic safety in the region, North Shore.
  • Lila Peterson, Vail Resorts/Heavenly Mountain Resort, waste diversion, composting, and zero-waste program coordination, South Shore.

Agency Representatives

  • Heidi Doyle, Sierra State Parks Foundation, stewarding and fundraising for California State Parks in Lake Tahoe, North Shore.
  • Jean Diaz, St. Joseph Community Land Trust, providing non-profit, donor-supported affordable housing, South Shore.

Lifetime Achievement

  • Roland Shaw, Nevada Tahoe Resource Team, 48 years in fuel reduction and forest resilience projects, North Shore.
  • Don Lane, USDA Forest Service, 50 years as backcountry manager with the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit, South Shore.

More on the Lake Spirit Award winners:

Heidi Doyle was one of the first female park rangers hired by the state of California in 1980. After 32 years serving mostly the State Parks in and around Lake Tahoe, she went to work with the Sierra State Parks Foundation, raising millions of dollars to reinvest back into the Sierra Parks. The foundation has been recognized nationally as a model organization for public/private partnerships. 

Jean Diaz is Executive Director of St. Joseph Community Land Trust, which recently constructed and sold three full-ownership affordable homes to three families in South Lake Tahoe. The homes are owned by the purchaser and can be re-sold at an affordable rate, but the land remains with the trust. St. Joseph is also providing donated funds to help complete the 248-unit Sugar Pine Village Project in South Lake Tahoe that will see first-phase construction this year. 

Helen Neff has come forward as a leader on traffic safety in the Tahoe region in the past year. After being hit by a car and suffering serious injuries, Neff got to work improving pedestrian safety in Tahoe. She reached out to Take Care Tahoe about creating a traffic safety campaign, which she funded herself. This led to the launch of the Take it Slow, Tahoe campaign in June of 2022. Take it Slow signs are now placed around the basin and on a billboard seen you approach Tahoe from Carson City. Free Take It Slow, Tahoe yard signs are available throughout the region this year thanks to Neff. Contact trpa@trpa.gov or call 775-588-4547 to pick up a sign today. 

Lila Peterson spent the 2022/2023 winter season at Heavenly Mountain Resort identifying waste streams that her department contributes to and worked tirelessly to find solutions. On her own initiative, Lila implemented programs to keep used uniforms out of the landfill, installed a Lomi™ smart composter in the employee center, recycled several pallets of plastic wrappers, organized Blue Crew trash clean ups of neighboring streets impacted by ski resort traffic, created a clothing drive to help employees get better winter clothing, and volunteered to lead the resort in implementing a zero-waste program.

Roland Shaw joined the Nevada Tahoe Resource Team in 2003, after a 30-year career with the USDA Forest Service, where he led fuel reduction and forest enhancement projects. Shaw successfully and safely conducted the first ever 100-acre prescribed in the Tunnel Creek area near Incline Village, Nevada. He helped design and lead the 300 plus-acre Spooner Landscape Resilience Project around Spooner Lake basin, which offset costs through timber sales and used helicopters to reduce impacts to sensitive areas. 

With 50 years of service, Don Lane is one of the longest-serving USDA Forest Service staff in the nation. Over his decades of service, he has connected countless numbers of people to the outdoors working for the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit maintaining recreation sites and managing crews that patrol Desolation Wilderness. Famous for his colorful storytelling and long-running radio show, Lane brings history to life and inspires everyone to be a steward of the Tahoe Basin.

Source: TRPA

Tahoe watercraft inspection program open for summer

STATELINE, Nev.  — As Lake Tahoe’s water level nears its maximum height from a record snowpack, agencies helping protect the region from aquatic invasive species are preparing watercraft inspection stations and new equipment for paddlers for the season ahead.

The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency and Tahoe Resource Conservation District manage the nationally recognized boat inspection program to prevent the spread of AIS by ensuring all watercraft are Clean, Drained, and Dry before entering the waters of the Lake Tahoe Region. 

Program managers are providing important updates for boaters:

  • As of Saturday, May 27, all three regional inspection stations will be open. It will be at the first day for the station at  Alpine Meadows ski resort near Tahoe City.
  • The station at Spooner Summit in Nevada will only be open Thursdays through Sundays due to staffing shortages. 
  • The Spooner Summit station will be open Monday, May 29, for the Memorial Day Holiday, and will be closed Sunday, June 4, during America’s Most Beautiful Bike Ride.
  • All motorized watercraft must be inspected and/or decontaminated, however boats that have an intact inspection seal from the last time they left Lake Tahoe, Fallen Leaf Lake, or Echo Lakes can go directly to their launch ramp or marina for certification.

Non-motorized paddlers have an important role in protecting Lake Tahoe from AIS introductions. 

  • Paddlers can self-inspect their equipment before entering the waters of the region. Rangers at many of Lake Tahoe’s public recreation areas help paddlers check that their equipment is Clean, Drained, and Dry.
  • This summer, two new solar-powered cleaning machines are being deployed that allow paddlers to clean their gear on the spot before getting on the water. One machine will be kept at Meeks Bay, owned and operated by the Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California. The second will rove between popular sites around the Tahoe Region and be periodically staffed. 
  • Paddlers are encouraged to become a certified Tahoe Keeper by following three simple steps every time they enter or leave a water body: Clean, Drain, and Dry. Anyone can become a Tahoe Keeper for free by going to tahoekeepers.org.

Tahoe RCD is actively recruiting and training new inspectors to help run this important program. Introduction of AIS, such as the harmful quagga or zebra mussel, can wreck native ecosystems, ruin Lake Tahoe’s recreational resources, and cost the region more than $20 million a year.

Thanks to the work of inspectors and boat ramp and marina operators, more than 107,000 vessels have been inspected at Lake Tahoe since 2008. In that time there have been no new detections of AIS in the region.

Find out more about becoming an inspector at tahoercd.org/about-us/job-opportunities-2/aquatic-invasive-species-program-jobs/

Updated Urgent Care Hours; Made in Tahoe Festival; Emergency Mapping Tools; More

News Briefs

Kick Off Summer with the Made in Tahoe Festival


Memorial Day Weekend is the unofficial start to summer, and at Palisades Tahoe that means the return of the annual Made in Tahoe Festival. From May 27 to 28, local artisans and business owners will line the streets of the Village to showcase their talents, products, and inspiration while local entertainers perform from midday to dusk. 

Featuring more than 85 Tahoe Basin and Truckee artisans, entrepreneurs, and organizations, this free, family-friendly event celebrates all things inspired by or created in Tahoe. Starting at 11 a.m. on both days and going until 5 p.m., the Made in Tahoe festival is the perfect way to spend a sunny, summer weekend. Come check out headliners Bread & Butter on Saturday, as well as Peter Joseph Burtt and The King Tide on Sunday. All proceeds from the Made in Tahoe bars benefit the Tahoe Food Hub and in the past have raised over $60,000.

Throughout the day, peruse the more than 85 vendor booths that will line the Village streets. Both days will also include continuous music on the Events Plaza and First Street stages. The community stage, located near the Funitel in the Tram Plaza, is where festival-goers can enjoy live dance, showcase performances, and participate in fun, interactive workshops presented by Tahoe Flow Arts Studio and Truckee Dance Factory. Tahoe Flow Arts will also be performing Iconic Women in Music in honor of their iconic artistic director Kelly Smiley’s untimely passing last fall. 

Enjoy an array of local beverage offerings from Alibi Ale Works, Truckee Brewing Company, Fifty Fifty Brewing Company, Truckee River Winery, and Tahoe Blue Vodka, to name a few. Visit the Palisades Tahoe website for the full festival schedule.

This event is partnered with the Truckee School of Music and Tahoe Food Hub and sponsored by the North Tahoe Community Alliance, whose mission is to enhance the region’s vibrancy and advocate for sustainable year-round visitation and responsible travel practices while supporting local businesses.

 ~ Palisades Tahoe press release

New Real-Time Emergency Mapping Tool


Washoe County Emergency Management, in collaboration with North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District, Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District, City of Sparks, City of Reno, Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe, and Reno-Sparks Indian Colony, is rolling out a new public safety map that will help residents identify the location of current large-scale emergencies, evacuation areas and road closures.

Perimeter is a new mapping software that allows first-responders to enter incident locations and draw a perimeter around evacuation zones or map road closures, and instantly share with the public.  

This does not replace the alert notification system that residents have signed up for, but rather provides more comprehensive and up-to-date information as part of the alert. A link will come through in the alert and individuals can simply visit the public map and see if they are in an affected area.  

“This is particularly important for tourists and visitors who may not know street or neighborhood names and may not be aware that they’re in an evacuation zone,” Washoe County Emergency Manager Kelly Echeverria said. “That’s why it was so important to us to find a tool that is user-friendly for the public and for the first responders who will be entering information.” 

This map will only be updated during emergency events, such as flooding, wildfires, earthquakes, etc. Washoe County Emergency Management will notify the public in and around an evacuation zone when an event triggers the activation of the Perimeter application. 

Perimeter was created in 2018 by programmers in Sonoma County during a season of widespread wildfires and subsequent flooding. Washoe County introduced this program to Nevada and is piloting it for Washoe County, Carson City, and Douglas County.   

You can access Washoe County’s Perimeter public map by visiting perimetermap.com. No sign-up or download is required. The map is responsive to desktop and mobile devices. During an emergency, the map will also be available at emergencywashoe.com.  

To sign up for Washoe County emergency alerts, visit washoecounty.gov.

 ~ Washoe County enews

Urgent Care Clinics New Hours of Operation


Urgent care locations in Tahoe City and Truckee through Tahoe Forest Health System will have new operating hours beginning June 1. TFHS’s dedicated urgent care clinics will be open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily at these two locations.

Patients of all ages can visit urgent care clinics with any injury or illness that is not life threatening but requires treatment prior to being seen by a primary care provider. TFHS urgent care clinics offer a high level of service, including ready staff and onsite diagnostic services, such as x‐ray and lab testing.

Learn more about the different types of care available and location information at tfhd.com/urgent‐care.

~ TFHS press release

THE JUNIPER AWARDS: The Jeff Hamilton Legacy Fund is now accepting nominations for its 2023 Juniper Awards. Courtesy photo

Jeff Hamilton Legacy Fund Accepting Nominations


The Jeff Hamilton Legacy Fund is now accepting nominations for the 2023 Juniper Awards.The no-strings-attached monetary awards will be given to recipients in six categories: art, music, winter olympics, trade school, medical care, and community impact. We ask the Truckee/Tahoe community to nominate deserving local individuals in these categories. 

Jeff Hamilton, who died of pancreatic cancer in January 2023, lived his life with commitment, fearlessness, and imagination. The fund’s selection committee looks forward to receiving nominations for individuals in our community whose work embodies these characteristics. 

Jeff created the fund to alleviate financial burdens on recipients so they can spend more time doing what they love; he knew that this support would ultimately help strengthen the roots of our community.

Nominations close Sept. 15. For more information and to nominate, visit our website: jeffhamiltonlegacyfund.com, or contact the Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation or Carolyn Hamilton at carolyn4hamilton@gmail.com

~ Carolyn Hamilton

HOME: “Providing pre-reviewed ADU plans is an efficient, affordable opportunity for Placer County to support our community’s high demand for housing,” said principal planner Nikki Streegan. Courtesy rendering

County Offers Pre-Reviewed Accessory Dwelling Unit Plans


Placer County property owners now have an opportunity to bypass lengthy review processes to build a one, two, or three-bedroom accessory dwelling unit to house a family member or generate rental income.

Placer County has released new pre-reviewed ADU plans that meet the 2022 California Building Standards Code that went into effect Jan. 1. The plans will save property owners thousands of dollars, reduce or eliminate restrictions imposed by homeowners associations, and will speed up the planning process.

Plans allow for the owner or builder to select heating, roofing, and siding. Each plan includes snow load engineering, foundation plans, and the capability for solar panels and battery-power backup batteries.

An ADU can be used for many purposes, such as independent space for a family member or college student, or to provide the property owner with rental income. ADUs increase property value and can help meet the county’s need to offer more affordable and workforce housing in the community.

Plans can be purchased for $1,200, a vast reduction from standard fees for unreviewed ADU plans that can add up to $9,000 or more. Property owners can preview renderings, floor plans, elevations, and additional information at placer.ca.gov/accessoryhomes prior to purchase.

Placer County is offering three plan types:

  • A one-bedroom, two-story, 661-square-foot unit with a garage.
  • A two-bedroom, 746-square-foot unit with an optional garage.
  • A three-bedroom, 1,194-square-foot unit with an optional garage.

Placer County’s participation in the pre-reviewed ADU plan program is part of a regional partnership with Nevada County, City of Grass Valley, City of Nevada City, Sierra County, and the Town of Truckee.

~ Placer County press release 

TAKE IT SLOW: Take Care Tahoe’s traffic safety campaign has free signs available to the public. Courtesy photo

Free Yard Signs Encourage Drivers to Take it Slow


Summer in Tahoe means warmer weather and wildflowers, but it also means more cars driving around the lake. Take Care Tahoe is taking on traffic safety by distributing free yard signs to the public that encourage drivers to “Take it Slow, Tahoe.” 

The message of “Take it Slow, Tahoe” captures the attention of drivers and creatively incorporates artwork to remind them why driving safely is so important: to protect people and animals. The signs are part of the larger campaign that launched in summer 2022. 

Yard signs are available for pick-up at eight locations around Tahoe, including: 

  • All three Raley’s locations: South Lake Tahoe, Incline Village, Truckee
  • South Lake Tahoe Library
  • TRPA offices at Stateline
  • Tahoe Science Center in Incline Village
  • North Tahoe Public Utility District offices in Tahoe Vista
  • Tahoe City Community Center 

“Traffic safety is a significant issue around the lake, especially during the summer,” said Noah Shapiro, Take Care Tahoe coordinator. “With these free yard signs, we are calling on our community to help us share the importance of driving slowly — on main roads and in neighborhoods — throughout the Tahoe Basin.”

Find more information about sign pick-up, including addresses and pick-up times for specific locations, at takecaretahoe.org.

~ Take Care Tahoe press release

Board Approves Renovations of Justice Court Community Center


Incline Village Justice Court Community Center Renovations Project consists of converting a portion of the existing Washoe County Community Center to serve as the relocated Incline Justice Court. The renovation will include a courtroom, judge’s office, judge’s assistant office, bailiff/security office, district attorney’s office, court clerk’s office, public defender’s office, security screening area, and additional security measures. 

Washoe County received two bids for the project, and the board of commissioners voted to award the contract to Miller Electric Company, doing business as PEC Contracting and Engineering, in the amount of $561,600. The approved action included a separate project contingency fund in the amount of $84,240 for the total project not to exceed $645,840.

~ Washoe County enews 

Truckee Trails Foundation is All Ears


Responsible for maintaining and building new trails in the Truckee region, Truckee Trails Foundation is launching the “Better Together Listening Tour”, with the first event set for Tuesday, June 6, at 7 p.m. at Alibi Ale Works in Truckee. This hour-long get-together will focus on trail runners. More listening events are scheduled over the next five months focusing on other uses for the Truckee Trails network including mountain biking, hiking/backpacking, road cycling, and gravel riding.

“The goal of this first event is to get direct feedback from the trail-running community in conjunction with our event partner, Donner Party Mountain Runners,” said Jeff Patrick, Truckee Trails’s new vice president over philanthropy and marketing. “We want to better understand how trail runners use the trails, what’s missing, and possible locations for new trail building endeavors. All of this will help shape our trail development plans to better serve trail runners moving forward.”

Truckee Trails invests over $1 million every year in building and maintaining the regional trail network. The organization is responsible for the maintenance of nearly 180 miles of non-motorized trail in the Tahoe National Forest, Truckee Ranger District (with the exception of the Jackass/Donkeytown Trail). In the past six years the Truckee Trails crew has built 27 miles of new trail, including major mountain bike, hiking and trail running trail development in the Waddle Ranch and Sawtooth areas.

This first listening event is sponsored by Tahoe Mountain Sports. All attendees will receive a 10% discount card that is valid at both the Tahoe Mountain Sports and Tahoe Mountain Life stores in Truckee. For more information and to register, visit truckeetrails.org.

~ Truckee Trails Foundation press release

Camp Wamp Receives Grant for Forest Management


The Stephen J. Wampler Foundation, a nonprofit organization that offers summer camp programs for children with physical disabilities, been awarded a generous grant from the Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation’s Forest Futures program. The grant will support fuel reduction efforts as part of Camp Wamp’s forest management program.

This is not the first time that Camp Wamp has received support from the Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation, as the foundation has been a long-standing partner of the camp and has provided grants for various projects in the past. Responsible forest management for the safety of the participants and staff is a top priority at Camp Wamp. By implementing a comprehensive forest management program, the camp will ensure the preservation and health of the surrounding woodland, allowing campers to continue enjoying its wonders for generations to come.

 “We are extremely grateful to the Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation for their continued support,” said Steve Wampler, founder and CEO of Camp Wamp. “This grant will enable us to make significant improvements to the health and resiliency of our ecosystem, while also enhancing the safety of our campers and staff during wildfire season.”

Forest Futures is a comprehensive regional strategy for regenerative forest solutions and aligned community education and protection. The program is funded by the Forest Futures Campaign Fund, which individual and corporate donors support.

For more information about the Stephen J. Wampler Foundation and their programs, please visit stephenjwamplerfoundation.org. To learn more about the Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation and its Forest Futures program, visit ttcf.net.

~ Stephen J. Wampler Foundation press release

Affordable Connectivity With Oasis Broadband Internet


Oasis Broadband Internet, a leading local internet service provider in Nevada, El Dorado, and Placer counties, is pleased to announce that it is now offering the Affordable Connectivity Program to all eligible households. The ACP is an initiative by the Federal Communications Commission, aimed at increasing access to affordable and reliable high-speed internet for low-income households.

The ACP provides eligible households with a monthly discount on their internet bill and a one-time discount on a computer or tablet. This is a significant benefit for low-income households, many of whom struggle to afford reliable internet access. By partnering with the ACP, Oasis is able to offer even more affordable internet options to its customers.

The Lake Tahoe area, the foothills, and surrounding communities are home to a large number of rural residents, many of whom have limited access to high-speed internet. These communities can now access reliable internet services that are essential for work, education, and daily life at more affordable prices.

For more information about Oasis Broadband Internet and the Affordable Connectivity Program, visit oasisbroadband.net or call (530) 883-5161.

~ Oasis Broadband Internet press release

Business Briefs

Palisades Tahoe Employee Housing


Palisades Tahoe has acquired two properties as part of the resort’s ongoing efforts to address workforce housing needs. The resort has purchased the Tahoe Vistana Inn in Tahoe Vista, which has a total of 30 units of varying size, and a multi-unit property in Kings Beach, which has a total of 8 units/cabins of varying sizes.

The Tahoe Vistana Inn will accommodate a variety of employees, including international and domestic, seasonal, and full-time year-round team members. The property has a selection of room types including hotel-style rooms as well as larger, multi-room apartments, and will house approximately 50 employees. The property includes a landscaped, park-like area, specifically designed to provide an inviting and picturesque setting. The Kings Beach property is intended for employees seeking a longer-term solution to housing. With eight cabin-style units, the property can accommodate close to 15 employees, depending on occupancy, and some of the units have fenced yards to allow for dogs. 

In addition to these properties, Palisades Tahoe owns and rents 13 apartment units in Olympic Valley, some with multiple bedrooms. The resort also secures ski leases during the winter months to house employees. Many of the resort’s transient workforces do not stay the entire season and therefore cannot sign seasonal leases so the resort rents the properties at market rate for the entire season and places employees as needed, often subsidizing a portion of the rent. The resort also completed year two of the Granite Flat campground winter lease with the U.S. Forest Service. This location includes 23 campsites suitable for employees who have an appropriate vehicle to live in.

For more information on Palisades Tahoe’s employee housing options, please visit palisadestahoe.com.

~ Palisades Tahoe press release

Thunderstorms, showers possible through holiday weekend at Tahoe

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — Mostly sunny skies and warm temperatures are expected over the Memorial Day holiday weekend, but anyone planning to camp or recreate in the Sierra Nevada should keep a heightened awareness for all thunderstorm threats including, lightning, heavy rainfall, flash flooding, hail and strong wind gusts.

“Having a ‘Plan B that allows a quick relocation away from flood-prone areas is highly recommended,” the National Weather Service in Reno said. “Although high temperatures are projected near late May averages (70s in lower elevations, 60s for Sierra communities) for the next several days, areas receiving rain can expect quick temperature drops of 15-25 degrees, so be sure to pack plenty of warm and waterproof clothing.”

The Memorial Day holiday weekend is notorious for unsettled weather putting a damper on outdoor activities and this year is no different. Daily chances of thunderstorms and showers are expected through the holiday weekend and into next week. 

There is a 15-25% chance of thunderstorms Saturday afternoon.

“Anywhere across eastern California to western Nevada is at risk for seeing increased thunderstorm chances,” the service said. “After some lingering areas of lighter rain Sunday night, an encore performance of increased shower/thunderstorm activity is projected for Memorial Day itself.”

The service said the unsettled weather pattern is likely to continue for the bulk of next week as additional waves of low pressure continue to rotate into the West Coast, with daily chances of thunderstorms and showers.

“A majority of the medium range ensemble guidance shows no distinct end to this unsettled pattern even through the first week of June,” the service said.

Nevada State Parks moving to online reservation system; Sand Harbor, Spooner not included

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — Nevada State Parks over the past several years has welcomed a record number of visitors and will move to a reservation system in response to the increased demand.

Nevada State Parks in September will launch Reserve Nevada, a new online reservation system that will allow visitors to buy day-use passes, book campsites and cabins, purchase annual permits, and make special event reservations online. Once implemented, visitors can plan and schedule their Nevada State Park adventures in advance, knowing that their accommodations will be reserved for their visit.

But the reservation system, Reserve Nevada, will not apply to Sand Harbor or Spooner state parks, officials told the Tribune on Thursday. Although day-use reservations may be possible in the future at Sand Harbor.

“With the exception of Big Bend of the Colorado, we’ll only be doing reservations at parks that offer overnight camping,” said Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Education & Information Officer Jennifer Jackson. “Technically Spooner Backcountry has overnight camping, but we won’t be doing reservations there. It has not been determined whether day-use reservations will be brought to Sand Harbor.”

Reserve Nevada is scheduled to go live on Sept. 1, with reservable sites being phased in over time. The first park to take reservations will be Valley of Fire State Park in southern Nevada, followed by Big Bend of the Colorado State Recreation Area near Laughlin and Washoe Lake State Park near Reno in October. The remainder of reservable sites will be online by the end of the year. As part of a pilot program, Big Bend of the Colorado will require advance reservations for day-use during a certain window of the day to help relieve traffic congestion at the park entrance. After that time window, the park will open to first-come, first-served day-use visitors. For now, other popular day-use parks, such as Sand Harbor State Park, will not offer reservations.

“Last year, nearly four million visitors explored Nevada’s 27 beautiful state parks. With outdoor recreation on the rise, our new online reservation system will make it easier than ever to discover the beauty of Nevada.” said Bob Mergell, Nevada State Parks administrator. “Nevada’s goal is to manage park operations and protect natural resources more efficiently through Reserve Nevada, and we expect our visitors and staff will appreciate the convenience of an online experience.”   

The reservation system will follow an 11-month rolling window, with sites opening up for reservation at 8 a.m. Online camping reservations must be made at least three days in advance; however, reservations are not required to stay at a Nevada State Park. Visitors are welcome to stay at unreserved sites on a first-come first-served basis, depending on availability.

The clear water at Lake Tahoe’s Sand Harbor State Park.
Bill Rozak/Tahoe Daily Tribune

Market Pulse: Predictions gone wrong

At the start of every year market analysts often make their predictions for the year. Some of their forecasts seem to occur every year. While it is still early, those often-repeated predictions aren’t going well.

Prediction 1.  Stocks will be volatile. You often hear this prediction on financial channels. It is one of the easiest predictions because it always sounds right. But the market isn’t always volatile. The Volatility Index (VIX) has fallen 27% over the last two months. Stocks are where they were a month ago and four months ago. In fact, they are little changed from two years ago. I’ll keep waiting for someone to predict a low volatility market.

Prediction 2.  It will be a stock picker’s market. This implies that active management (analysts attempting to choose winning stocks to own) will outperform the S&P 500. Of course an analyst wouldn’t have a job if he said to simply buy a passive low-cost index fund.

It is too early to get the statistics but I can confidently say that most active stock pickers are underperforming in the S&P 500. That’s because the S&P 500 is far stronger than most stocks. Large technology stocks (think Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Nvidia) have been exceptionally strong and have a 27% index weighting. That’s why the S&P 500 is up 7% in 2023 while the average stock in the index and the average small-cap stock is about unchanged. For a stock picker to outperform this year one would need at least a third of their portfolio in a handful of large-cap technology stocks and little or nothing in the financials.

Prediction 3.  The recent trend will continue. Most predictions continue the trend of the recent past. Consider these three common 2023 predictions: The 2022 bear market will continue in 2023. Technology will continue to do poorly so stay in energy. U.S. markets will do best. Nope. Technology was last year’s biggest loser and is this year’s biggest winner.  Energy was best in 2022 but has lagged in 2023. iShares Eurozone (EZU) is up 13% and iShares Latin America (ILF) is up 10%. Trends can and will change.

As for the market, stocks are quiet now but that, too, will change. The catalyst may be a surprise rate cut from the Fed or more increases, more trouble in the banking sector or progress in the Ukraine war. Or a recession. Or no recession.  

David Vomund is an Incline Village-based Independent Investment Advisor. Information is found at www.VomundInvestments.com or by calling 775-832-8555. Clients hold the positions mentioned in this article. Past performance does not guarantee future results. Consult your financial advisor before purchasing any security.

Healthy Tahoe: Mental health systems of care

As regularly identified, mental health and access to care are top concerns impacting our region’s health and well-being. Across the nation, care providers, health systems, and local agencies are grappling with the same issue.

Locally, we continue to work on addressing these needs through strategic partnerships, population health initiatives, educational campaigns, and multifaceted care teams, but the work is ongoing and can always be improved.

Accessing mental health care can be overwhelming, especially when you or a loved one is struggling with mental health. And depending on your insurance, where/ how you access mental health care may be different.

Mental health concerns are categorized as either severe, meaning it considerably interferes or limits major life activities, or mild to moderate, when a person has a small number of symptoms that have a modest effect on their daily life. Mental health professionals receive specialized education and training to address a variety of mental health issues, including:

  • Psychiatrist — medical doctors who diagnose, plan treatment, and dispense psychiatric medications. While trained in psychotherapy, psychiatrists are not usually a primary therapist for patients.
  • Nurse Practitioner — advanced practice providers who train in psychiatric care and can diagnose mental illness, create a treatment plan, and prescribe medications.
  • Psychologist — doctorates (PhD or PsychD) who diagnose, provide testing, and psychotherapy (often called talk therapy).
  • Licensed Clinical Social Worker — a licensed professional who can diagnose mental health conditions and are usually well trained in a variety of psychotherapies. Patients may or may not also have a psychiatrist.
  • Marriage and Family Therapists — licensed to diagnose and treat mental health and substance abuse problems through therapy techniques. Treatment often involves family systems. Patients may or may not also have a psychiatrist.

These mental health professionals may see patients as part of a health system, a group practice, or private practice.

For mild to moderate mental health issues:

  • If you have private insurance (not Medicare, Medi-Cal, or Medicaid), you should contact your insurance provider for a list of in-network mental health providers. Plan to contact several therapists to find availability and a good match. Not all patient-therapist relationships click and that is OK.
  • If you have public insurance like Medicare, Medi-Cal or Medicaid, you will need to obtain a referral for mental health services through your primary care provider or clinic, or contact your county mental health services for available resources.
  • If you are “private pay” (paying out of pocket through cash, sliding scale fees, HSA, credit card, or check), you should contact therapists directly. Again, plan to contact several therapists before finding an appropriate appointment and visit psychologytoday.com for additional information.

For severe mental health issues:

  • If you have private insurance (not Medicare, Medi-Cal, or Medicaid), obtain a referral from your primary care provider to a psychiatrist.
  • If you have public insurance like Medicare, Medi-Cal or Medicaid, contact your county mental health department.
  • If you or your loved one is experiencing a severe mental health crisis and needs support now, visit a nearby emergency department or call 911.
  • The Suicide Lifeline is a confidential and free resource — call/ text 988 anytime. 

Like your physical health, taking care of your mental health is important and can have a meaningful impact on your overall well-being. Knowing where and from whom to seek help will give you a head start toward better health and stability in time of need.

Dr. Tracy Protell is a child and adolescent psychiatrist with Barton psychiatry and mental health. For more information about taking care of your mental health, or for a list of area resources and crisis lines, visit BartonHealth.org/MentalHealth.

Tracy Protell

Scientist: Trees felled in vain in name of fire control

An alliance between governments and the commercial logging industry under the guise of fire management is decimating forests, wreaking ecological havoc, and exacerbating risks for people and property, according to scientists at odds with what they call archaic methods that are futile in controlling fires.

“The Forest Service uses the term ‘thinning and fuel reduction,’ a euphemism for commercial logging,'” says Dr. Chad Hanson, an ecologist and vocal critic with a following of colleagues critical of traditional fire management practices at a time when climate change has increased fire severity. “What they’re really doing is selling and removing large, commercially valuable trees on a fairly significant scale. Not only does that fail to protect homes, it will actually make a fire spread faster, and often more intensely toward the homes.”

A dense, mature forest with high canopy cover “means more cooling shade during the summer, and that means everything on the forest floor stays more moist,” Hanson explains. “More trees, bigger trees, act as a windbreak against the winds that drive the flames.”

The vast majority of homes that burn in wildfires – about 90% – are ignited by embers, carried on the winds, sometimes from miles away in advance of the flames, experts say. 

Hanson says government efforts would be better spent assisting property owners, at a nominal cost, harden their homes against fire by making them less vulnerable to embers entering the structure, and by creating defensible space around property by removing overhanging branches and other hazards within 100 to 200 feet.  

Logging, on the other hand, reduces the canopy cover and windbreak. 

“What you get are hotter, drier, and windier conditions that are more conducive to moving rapid wildfire toward homes,” Hanson says.

An example, according to Hanson, is the 2021 Caldor Fire, which burned 221,835 acres in the Sierra Nevada and Eldorado Valley over a more than two-month span, destroyed more than 1,000 structures, and prompted the evacuation of more than 50,000 residents.

Hanson says large areas south of the town of Grizzly Flats were subjected to commercial logging.  

“Fire officials told everyone it would stop the fire and protect the town,” he says. “We saw tragic consequences of that. If you look at the other side of the Caldor Fire, there was very light touch removal of smaller trees immediately adjacent to homes in the Meyers area, and those homes didn’t burn. But that’s not logging.”  

It’s also not as lucrative. 

“The benefits of harvesting timber extend way beyond a healthy forest and reducing hazardous fuels. Timber harvesting also supports jobs and businesses in the local community.” says Brad Seaberg, Timber Sale Contracting Officer for the Tahoe National Forest. “When forest land is properly managed, forests have both economic and ecological benefits. Regular thinning provides an improved environment for maximizing a site’s growth potential, which results in larger, healthier trees and more valuable timber.” 

The federal government is spending $3 billion over ten years to ‘thin’ forests via commercial logging and controlled burns in western states, including Nevada, which received $57 million of $490 million allocated last week from the infrastructure bill. The Forest Service declined to be interviewed about the project.

U.S. Senators Jacky Rosen and Catherine Cortez Masto issued statements supporting the Biden administration plan last week but did not respond to requests for comment.  

Room with a view

No one told Tahoe resident David Simon that the Forest Service intended to thin the trees surrounding his home a mile from the lake. 

“If they had, I wouldn’t have thought twice about it,” says Simon, a retired attorney. “Whereas, if somebody tells you, ‘hey, we’re going to take out 90% of the trees in your forest, you’d not only take notice, you’d start taking action.”

Simon, like his neighbors, learned of NV Energy’s Resilience Corridors project when a wide swath of cedars, pines, and other massive trees vanished from his view. 

The $14 million dollar project is paid for in part by the Southern Nevada Public Land Management Act, which uses proceeds from public land sales for a variety of  projects, including hazardous fuel reduction and Lake Tahoe restoration in Northern Nevada.  

Details of the Forest Service’s plan to remove hazardous fuels that pose a threat to some 28 miles of utility infrastructure along the lake call for “treating” the area beneath the electrical lines (Zone One) as well as the adjacent area within 175 feet (Zone Two).

“As a layperson, or even as a lawyer who is not familiar with Forest Service lingo, one would think that the thinning scope in Zone Two would mean taking out a small portion of the trees – maybe 10%,” says Simon. “Instead, they took something like 85 or 90% of the trees, which just radically exceeds the legal scope that they carefully defined. I think the loggers have an incentive to take as many trees out as they can, because each tree is worth cash.”

“It looks like amateur hour,” says Mitch Dion of the Kingsbury General Improvement District, which has implemented best practices for erosion and drainage control for the last 20 years in an effort to preserve the lake’s water quality. “Trees were removed from riparian areas, even on private property. We’re a bit troubled that the kind of oversight expertise we expected wasn’t there.”

Dion says he’s shared his concerns with the Forest Service. “They’ve promised to do better.” 

The NV Energy Resilience Corridors project received an exclusion from the National Environmental Policy Act and did not warrant an environmental impact statement, according to the Forest Service, which estimates contractors have removed 1,200 tons of timber as of the end of 2023.

“The timber is transported to a sorting yard. Lower quality materials may be sold as firewood or biomass, and higher quality timber may be sold as sawlogs to a sawmill,” spokeswoman Lisa Herron said in a statement. “The value of the goods minimally offsets the cost of the services being performed. No revenue has been generated to date and little is expected due to the high volume of materials already on the market.”

“The forest service should not be involved in lumber sales, because it incentivizes the wrong behaviors,” says Tahoe resident Oliver Starr, who says logging crews are cutting mature trees, contrary to the project’s stated scope. “We need to change the laws that go back to 1897 that put the Forest Service in the commercial logging business. It was a different environment 30 to 40 years ago. Thinning a forest does nothing to stop a climate-driven fire.”

It’s also harming the environment, he says. 

“They’re burning thousands and thousands of trees in the open,” which “dumps carbon into the atmosphere, ash into the ground, and the runoff acidifies the lake,” Starr says. “It’s the perfect storm of mismanagement.”

Editor’s note: This story has been reprinted with permission from Nevada Current.

This photo shows a tree felled was well over the 41-inch limit, according to the photographer.
Provided/Staci Baker

Tahoe to see influx of visitors for holiday weekend; Officials advise caution

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — Memorial Day holiday weekend, the unofficial kickoff to summer, is big business for Lake Tahoe. Some South Tahoe lodging properties are nearly sold-out, but officials are reminding outdoor adventure seekers that the warm temperatures and cold run off means extra precautions are necessary.

With the area expected to see a large influx of visitors, traffic congestion, crowded trails and beaches are possible, especially with sunny skies and temperatures in the mid to upper 60s.

Be sure to allow extra time for travel and to pack plenty of water and snacks. It’s also a good idea to wear comfortable shoes and clothing that is appropriate for the weather conditions (thunderstorms are possible this weekend).

Carol Chaplin, president and CEO of Visit Lake Tahoe, told the Tribune, “Our lodging partners are reporting strong occupancy for Saturday and Sunday; A few have indicated they are close to sell out.” 

Chaplin added that with the weekend drawing near the window to book accommodations is coming to a close.  

“Overall, we should have a strong holiday weekend,” Chaplin added.

According to the USDA Forest Service Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit, it also marks the kickoff for many visitors to national forests. With the strong storms and heavy snow over the past few months, some forest areas and sites are closed due to lingering snowpack, flooding or road damage. Crews are using all available resources to get these areas open and safe for the public to enjoy.

Know Before You Go. Check in with local Forest Service offices for closures and alerts. Use forest websites and social media for updates on sites and trails for the 18 national forests in California. It is your responsibility to know the area and any restrictions to areas, roads and trails within the national forests.

Pack essentials. Hikers and campers should always bring essentials including navigation, light sources, first aid supplies, clothes for changing weather, food, water and a smartphone. We recommend hikers send someone not on the hike a detailed plan of where they plan to travel and GPS location when they arrive, in case of an emergency.

Until sites officially open, there is no parking, trash removal or restroom facilities available, so plan accordingly. Bring a trash bag in case trash receptacles are unavailable and never leave trash on the outside of trash receptacles. Trash and debris left behind can be harmful or fatal to wildlife and degrades Lake Tahoe. Where pets are allowed, always clean up after them and dispose of pet waste bags properly. 

Where gates are still closed, be sure to park legally, completely off the roadway, avoid parking on vegetation, and avoid blocking gates.

Lake Tahoe is bear country. Due to snow coverage, natural food sources for bears are scarce, so be extra vigilant and help keep Tahoe bears wild by properly securing food, garbage, and other scented items. Never leave scented items in vehicles and remember to lock doors and windows. Never approach bears or cubs, always keep your distance. Don’t feed bears or other wildlife, it’s illegal. Feeding wildlife encourages them to enter human occupied areas to seek out human food.

May is Water Safety Month

In a statement Thursday, the Forest Service said that snowmelt has left behind bitter cold water which can cause hypothermia within just a matter of a few minutes. 

El Dorado County Public Health Officer Dr. Nancy Williams is advising residents and visitors to take extra precautions.

“No one wants to lose a loved one to drowning,” said Williams. “Fortunately, drowning incidents are preventable, and taking simple actions can absolutely save lives.” 

According to Williams, El Dorado County officials are especially concerned about getting the word out this year on water safety due to higher-than-normal water levels on local rivers and lakes, which can be very dangerous.

Expect Lake Tahoe beaches to be smaller than previous years due to high lake levels. Beaches with vegetation or rocky shoreline may be inaccessible. Arrive early to beat the crowds and use this opportunity to explore new areas.

Water safety reminders:

  • Do not enter cold, fast-running water. It can be dangerous for you and first responders.
  • Never enter the water to rescue a victim. Throw something that floats and call 9-1-1.
  • Do not drive through high waters. Water is often swifter than it appears.
  • Never swim alone, always wear an approved life jacket. 
  • Keep a close eye on children and pets.

South Lake Tahoe Fire Marshall Kim George told the Tribune “[Dangers in the water] really are a concern. The water is really cold and people underestimate how dangerous it can be. I’ve been seeing people paddleboarding on the Upper Truckee and mostly without life jackets.” 

George added it’s not just the temperature people need to be aware of.

“The river has a number of snags that aren’t visible but could really injure people if they were to fall in. Also, people should never use a leash if they are paddle boarding on the river. There was a tragic fatality a few years back because of that.”


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