The Early Days
One of the League’s earliest victories was the defeat of a development plan in the 1960s that would have resulted in a much different Lake Tahoe Basin than we know today. The plan included a high-speed freeway circling the lake, a bridge over beautiful Emerald Bay, additional casino districts, and heavily populated urban centers around the lake. The newly formed League to Save Lake Tahoe successfully swayed public opinion against the plan and helped guide the management of the Tahoe area in a much different direction.
Soon after, the League began urging the legislatures of the states of California and Nevada to create a unified regional planning agency to protect Lake Tahoe. In 1969, the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency was born, but the challenge of protecting Tahoe continued.
Over the next few decades, the League established itself as the primary watchdog of the Tahoe Basin. In the 1970s, the League led efforts to eliminate the practice of dumping sewage in Lake Tahoe’s watershed. In the 1980s, we forced the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency to adopt a Regional Plan and environmental thresholds that would adequately protect the lake. In the 1990s the League successfully required the TRPA to establish urban boundaries to prevent residential and commercial uses from encroaching on conservation lands. In addition, the League organized a campaign which led to the ban of two-stroke watercraft engines on the lake. Most recently, in 2010, the League defeated a plan to add 138 new piers, thousands of new buoys, and other boat facilities, resulting in more than 62,000 additional boat trips each year on the lake, all without any required mitigation.
Bringing in Funds
The League has done far more than advocate for good planning and adequate regulation for the Lake Tahoe Basin. Since in the mid-1990s, the League has been a co-leader and the primary funder of the highly successful effort to assure adequate and appropriate public and private investment in conservation at Lake Tahoe. This effort has secured hundreds of millions of dollars for the restoration and protection of Lake Tahoe’s unique environment. The collaboration that the League initiated with business interests at the Lake has received national and statewide recognition as a model for economic and environmental cooperation – and all this was achieved without ‘standing down’ from our traditional role as the Lake's watchdog.