Chile Lagos Limpios

Tahoe as a case study for international conservation

Southern Chile and Lake Tahoe both are known for stunning vistas, pristine lakes and world-class outdoor recreation.

But it is Lake Tahoe that has developed a model for how to handle the influx of tourism, economic development and the associated ecological pressures that follow. For more than 60 years, the League to Save Lake Tahoe has been collaborating with stakeholders, using the best-available science to inform policy decisions and effectively communicating the need to “Keep Tahoe Blue.” This expertise is a blueprint that can be shared with other lakes around the world.

Chile Lagos Limpios

For these reasons, in May of 2018, Chileans invited a delegation of experts from Tahoe to visit and assist in their efforts to protect their lake region, just north of the Patagonia region. This delegation consisted of representatives from the the League to Save Lake Tahoe, the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency and the University of California, Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center.

Lake Panguilpulli in southern Chile’s Lake Region.
This heavily touristed area shares many similarities to Tahoe.

During this inaugural visit to Lake Panguilpulli, working groups and public seminars were held and attended by hundreds of community members, officials, governors and senators. Tahoe shared how a  combination of science-backed policy applied on a watershed scale and extensive community engagement may be a model for Lake Panguipulli, and other lakes, that can be used to strike the desired balance between tourism and environmental preservation before their lakes are lost.

Tahoe and Chile signed a resolution to continue working together and exchanging ideas. The League will work closely with Chile as they launch their own lake advocacy organization known as “Chile Lagos Limpios” (Chile Clean Lakes).

To learn more about this project please visit or This program would not have been possible without the support of the many partner organizations based in Chile including the U.S. Embassy, Land Arquitectos, Corporación Amigos de Panguipulli, Municipalidad de Panguipulli, Universidad Austral de Chile and Maceteros Producciones.

Chile Tahoe Delegation. 2018.

The Tahoe and Chile Delegation in front of the U.S. Embassy in Santiago, Chile.

From left to right: Cristobal Valenzuela Haeussler of Land Arquitectos, Angela Delorenzo of Land Arquitectos, sustainability program coordinator of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA) Devin Middlebrook, director of the Tahoe Environmental Research Center Dr. Geoffrey Schladow and chief strategy officer at the League to Save Lake Tahoe Jesse Patterson. Not pictured: Fernando Coz of Chile Lagos Limpios.