Protecting Scenery & Serenity
Scenic Resources Threshold
Tahoe’s stunning scenery draws millions of visitors each year. At its centerpiece is a cobalt blue lake 22 miles long and 12 miles wide. Its highest mountain, Freel Peak, reaches nearly 11,000 feet, towering 5,000 feet above lake level. Its meadows overflow with spring and summer wildflowers. Fall aspens fill the mountains with streams of gold colors. Snow blankets the lake’s forests and mountains during winter.
Yet, travelers through many of Tahoe’s towns may discover that direct views of the mountains and the lake are often hard to find. Highway 50 in South Lake Tahoe hosts the most driveways per square mile of any highway in the country. Visitors encounter miles of pavement and parking lots. Towering casinos at Stateline impede views and limit the impression of natural wonder.
The key to preserving Tahoe’s scenic values is by protecting not only the lake’s clarity, forests, wildlife and air quality, but also by limiting building heights and pavement, creating and protecting scenic corridors.
The League works with regulators like the TRPA to limit the scenic impacts of development projects, so that Tahoe may continue to provide unique scenic values.
Protecting serenity at Tahoe is essential to creating a low-stress environment for wildlife and an enjoyable outdoor destination for people. Emerald Bay is home to nesting bald eagles. Black bears and coyotes roam freely throughout the basin. The Upper Truckee River, which passes by the South Lake Tahoe airport, is home to several species of waterfowl. The noises of modern society are foreign, frightening and stressful to wildlife, and disrupt foraging and breeding habits.
The primary source of noise disturbance in Tahoe is motorized transportation like aircraft, cars, boats, jet skis and snowmobiles. The Tahoe Regional Planning Compact requires that noise disturbances be kept to a minimum. This means the size of airplanes flying into and out of the airport is limited to those that produce a certain low decibel. Noise from motorized boats is also closely monitored.
The League continues to urge the TRPA to enforce noise regulations regarding motorized transportation.