SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) — Fodor’s Travel Guide put Lake Tahoe on its list of “Ten Regions to Reconsider in 2023,” saying the region has become overpopulated.
It says many people moved to the Tahoe area during the COVID-19 pandemic. Those new residents, combined with tourism, led to crowded trails and beaches. The guide says that leads to more trash and air pollution.
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“The article is pretty much saying, ‘Hey, nature needs a break,'” said Andy Chapman, CEO of Travel North Tahoe Nevada. “We align with that. I think a lot of people came into the mountain destinations that they were unfamiliar with, how to interact with a destination like ours, or in the mountains, or what to do with your trash or where to park and we have a responsibility of educating those visitors.”
Chapman is not advising people to avoid traveling to Tahoe all together, but he says people need to be more mindful and better prepared when planning a trip. According to the article from Fodor’s Travel, it also mentioned a threat to the lake itself.
“Heavy traffic crushes Tahoe’s roads into fine dust and debris and pumps tailpipe emissions into the air,” the article stated. “When it rains or snow melts, stormwater transports these fine pollution particles into the lake.”
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Environmentalists with Keep Tahoe Blue say people should strongly consider how they plan to get around while visiting.
“We really do need to think about our cumulative impact that each individual adds up,” said Keep Tahoe Blue Chief Strategy Officer Jesse Patterson. “We have to think about how we get here, how we get around once we are here, and of course what we leave behind or don’t leave behind.”
He recommends things like taking shuttles and buses to popular spots and picking one section of Tahoe and staying there. If there is trash that needs to be picked up, do so.
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“We definitely need people to be more mindful about what they leave behind,” he said. “Trash especially is an issue because the animals can get to it and spread it around and that is harmful to the wildlife.”
As we enter 2023, experts say take a few extra steps when planning a trip to the beautiful blue lake.
“Enjoy it and leave it better than you found it and it will be this way for generations to come,” Chapman said.
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