The rise in outdoor related tourism in Northern California has been staggering. With little opportunities for indoor recreation in 2020, visitors traveled to outdoor destinations in droves, with some not having any idea how to practice Leave No Trace values and maintain the beauty of these locations.
Some areas particular vulnerable to these impacts were the communities around Lake Tahoe, which saw increased visitors over the past 18 months. The outcome was increased trash and traveler-related impacts on the natural resources of the region. That’s why three of Tahoe’s tourism bureaus are asking visitors to take a pledge to keep the area pristine for everyone to enjoy.
“The Traveler Responsibility Pledge was developed so visitors can enjoy the unique culture and natural beauty of our region responsibly,” said Andy Chapman, president and CEO of the Incline Village Crystal Bay Visitors Bureau. “Lake Tahoe has always been a popular destination and as more people continue to visit or call the Sierra ‘home,’ it is important for them to appreciate locals’ expectations so they can help leave it better than they found it.”
The six-pledge commitment reminds visitors how to conduct themselves while recreating in the Sierra. Here are the six principles of the pledge:
- Become a Steward of Tahoe-Truckee. Commit to exploring the region responsibly and help preserve treasured places by leaving them better than you found them. Participate in a clean-up day, download and use the Citizens Science Tahoe App, ride public transportation and support small businesses and events.
- Respect the Environment. Leave no trace by packing out what you brought in, properly dispose of trash and stay on trails to reduce your impact on the environment. Other ways to participate include saying no to plastic and bringing your own reusable water bottle.
- Stay Educated. Check regional Know Before You Go resources and be prepared for changing weather conditions and operational modifications. Sign up for city, county and state text alerts to stay connected with real-time travel advisories and emergency updates.
- Keep Wildlife Wild. It’s critical to observe wildlife from a respectful distance and to not feed wild animals. Remembering this will keep you safe and the wildlife wild.
- Be Fire Safe. Consult fire restrictions before lighting a campfire or starting a grill, and know the permitting rules before burning anything outdoors. When using charcoal or wood in approved areas, be sure to completely soak, stir and feel ashes to ensure they’re out.
- Demonstrate Mindful Travel. If an outdoor area looks too crowded, move on and explore a new location. Speak kindly to people you encounter and remember to be a good neighbor by keeping noise down and parking in designated areas. Travel with awareness and be mindful of the impact of your actions.
Will you take the pledge to keep Tahoe pristine for everyone to enjoy? Take the pledge and learn more about what to expect and how to travel and recreate responsibly in Lake Tahoe-Truckee at gotahoenorth.com and tahoesouth.com.
Northern California’s Outdoor Digital Newsmagazine