From it’s beautiful beaches to family-friendly resorts, Lake Tahoe is a centerpiece of outdoor recreation in Northern California. But with that tourism revenue comes the great responsibility to keep the waters of the largest Alpine freshwater lake in the western United States clean.
That’s exactly what 40 volunteers did on August 5th when they organized a large effort, including 20 scuba divers and a bunch of kayakers, to clean litter from below the lake’s surface. They removed approximately 500 pounds of trash on the lake’s floor near the popular Bonsai Rock, a cleaning that needed to take place for a long time.
“There’s gotta be some stuff that’s been down there since the 50’s,” a volunteer told KOLO 8 News.
An assortment of flip flops, hair ties and rusted cans were hauled above the surface and removed from the lake for good. The event was praised as a success as most of the clean-up efforts on Lake Tahoe involve the trash above the surface of the water. After the Fourth of July visitors’ left the popular vacation destination, locals cleaned up 1,500 pounds of trash on five Tahoe beaches. But much of the trash that goes underwater is forgotten by many.
Although the clean-up was deemed a giant success, it’s a harsh reminder that this sort of effort should take place across the entire lake, not just in one location. If these types of coordinated efforts happened each year around the lake, it would go a long way.
It’s also a reminder to visitors to pack out what you pack in on the lake. Remember that anything you drop into the lake may stay there for many, many years.