LAKE TAHOE – To celebrate #EarthWeekTahoe, volunteers came out in force to clean up winter litter that had been buried under snow until recently. Ninety-six volunteers removed more than 700 pounds of trash from Heavenly Village and the litter-plagued, unofficial sledding hill near Spooner Summit during events on April 22, 23 and 24.
While Earth Week is a fitting occasion to combat pollution in Tahoe, litter is a year-round problem that requires constant action to avoid harm to wildlife, the Lake’s delicate ecology, and the Basin’s scenic beauty.
“It might be Friday afternoon, but it doesn’t matter what day of the week it is. I’m out here taking care of the place I love most,” noted Geoff Miller, a cleanup volunteer and leader of one of the League to Save Lake Tahoe’s Tahoe Blue Crews. “I don’t mind devoting my time and energy to bringing this place back to how beautiful it is naturally.”
During the winter and early spring, the snow-play area near Spooner Summit on Tahoe’s east shore is in need of constant attention. Thousands of pounds of broken sleds, food trash, plastic tags from new winter clothes, and human waste are left behind every winter. Volunteers help keep the litter in check, as the site lacks trash facilities or restrooms.
“This winter, we removed 13,000 pounds of litter from the Spooner sled hill,” said Katie Sheehan, Executive Director for Clean Tahoe, a south Tahoe nonprofit dedicated to improving Tahoe’s environment through proper litter management. “Volunteer cleanup efforts like this – and simply cleaning up after yourself – are crucial to protecting Tahoe’s beauty.”
The Earth Day cleanup at Heavenly Village was organized by the League to Save Lake Tahoe, Clean Tahoe, and South Tahoe Refuse in partnership with Azul Latin Kitchen, Base Camp Pizza Co., Marriott's Timber Lodge and Grand Residence Club Lake Tahoe, and Ten Crows BBQ. A separate Earth Day cleanup was hosted on Tahoe’s north shore by the Incline Village General Improvement District. The League and Clean Tahoe hosted back-to-back cleanups at the Spooner site on April 23 and 24.
In addition to the cleanups, Tahoe visitors, longtime locals, and new residents took part in a week-long series of activities to ring in #EarthWeekTahoe. Participants learned that despite Tahoe’s stunning natural beauty, the Lake is threatened by trash, traffic, invasive species, and climate change. Everyone who treasures Tahoe can help protect it with simple, easy actions.
“We call it being a #TahoeBlueGooder. If you see trash, pick it up. Try to ride your bike or walk instead of driving. Ditch those single-use plastics and choose reusables instead,” said Kat Walton, Community Engagement Associate for the League to Save Lake Tahoe. “Whether you have five minutes or five hours, everyone can make a difference and Keep Tahoe Blue.”
Visitors and locals alike are encouraged to use the Citizen Science Tahoe app, developed by UC Davis, which offers a range of self-paced tools to protect the Lake while you enjoy all it has to offer. To get more involved, a calendar of volunteer programs, stewardship events, and virtual activities are available at keeptahoeblue.org/events.
Media Contact: Chris Joseph, Communications Manager, League to Save Lake Tahoe; firstname.lastname@example.org; 805.722.5646
The League to Save Lake Tahoe, also known by its iconic slogan “Keep Tahoe Blue,” is Tahoe's oldest and largest nonprofit environmental advocacy organization. Our team of solutions-oriented Tahoe advocates use innovation, boots on-the-ground action and a holistic approach to solve the environmental challenges threatening the lake we love. In our 64th year, we continue pushing to Keep Tahoe Blue in an ever-changing world. Learn more at keeptahoeblue.org.