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Record number of volunteers find much cleaner beaches this July 5th

League to Save Lake Tahoe
July 5, 2024

Tahoe Blue Beaches pilot program shows signs of success at Zephyr Cove and Shoals 

LAKE TAHOE, Nev./Calif., July 5, 2024 – Over a decade of the League to Save Lake Tahoe leading beach cleanup events, drawing international attention to Tahoe’s litter challenges, and rallying partners to apply innovative solutions, this July 5 brought signs of success. In an inspiring outpouring of support, 788 volunteers from inside and outside the Tahoe Basin spread out across more than a half dozen beaches around the Lake early this morning to remove litter, refresh, and revitalize the shoreline following the 4th of July holiday. Fortunately, their hard work didn’t take much time, as they arrived to mostly clean stretches of sand, trails, and streets. The cleaner beaches this year are a result of the newly launched Tahoe Blue Beaches program, a solution the League to Save Lake Tahoe designed with Basin partners to address litter on beaches. 

“Look around at all these volunteers,” said Naomi Morgan, a long-time participant in the annual cleanup. “There are so many smiles and such positive energy. I think people are happy to be here, pitch in, and protect Tahoe.” 

This year’s increase in volunteers was a direct response to last year’s dramatic scene of beaches covered in trash. The turnout to clean up after the Fourth of July celebration exemplifies how much our visitors and locals want to Keep Tahoe Blue.

Since 2013, the League has conducted beach and community cleanup events where its volunteers gather not just litter but also data on what types of trash they find, where and how much. By analyzing that data, the League’s expert team has identified the sources of problems and applied innovative methods to solve them. Those litter-fighting measures include bans on single-use plastic water bottles and bags, the deployment of beach-cleaning robots, and a new beach management program called Tahoe Blue Beaches (more on that below). These efforts have led to results.

The astounding volunteer turnout for this year’s event set a new record, surpassing the previous high by more than 200 individuals and showing the public’s commitment to take care of Tahoe. Yet, the 788 volunteers and a beach-cleaning robot from ECO-CLEAN Solutions found only a touch more than the average litter collected during past July 5th cleanups. In total, participants removed 1,866 pounds of trash, not even a quarter of what volunteers removed on July 5, 2023. Above and below water teams with Clean Up The Lake removed an additional 125 pounds.

For the League to Save Lake Tahoe, 15 event partners, members of the Destination Stewardship Plan, and the global community of Tahoe-lovers, this was precisely how they hoped to ring in the 11th annual “Keep Tahoe, Red, White & Blue” July 5th Beach Cleanup – with far smaller amounts of trash to clean up than in the recent past. 

“Today, we saw clear evidence that people went out of their way to protect Tahoe – that includes land managers, an amazing number of volunteers and partners, and the tens of thousands of people who spent their holiday on the beach,” said Marilee Movius, senior community engagement manager for the League to Save Lake Tahoe. “Thank you for helping to Keep Tahoe Blue. Now, let’s keep this going through the weekend and all summer.” 

Other groups and individuals cleaned up their local beaches and neighborhoods after the holiday, too. These independent, grassroots efforts are another key ingredient to ensuring the Tahoe environment stays healthy and beautiful. 

At Zephyr Shoals, the focus of much attention following the 4th of July in 2023, the scene was calm. Families lounged under umbrellas, kids cooled themselves in the Lake’s clear waters, and beachgoers made good use of dozens of added trash receptacles, portable restrooms, signs, and maps to take care of Tahoe as they enjoyed it. Temporary fencing, a prohibition on outside alcohol, and extra staffing also contributed to a mellow and enjoyable holiday.  

The beach improvements at Zephyr were implemented by Aramark Destinations as part of the new Tahoe Blue Beaches program – a collective effort by the League to Save Lake Tahoe and USDA Forest Service Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit (LTBMU) to “raise the bar for beach management” in Tahoe. Based on the small amount of litter at Zephyr Cove and Shoals in 2024, the program showed it can be successful. 

“We had visitors from around the world enjoying the beaches and amenities at Zephyr Cove Resort & Shoals,” said Aramark Destinations District Manager Kevin Schiesz. “We are thankful to all our team members and partners who worked together to create a safe, enjoyable and memorable experience. This was the first year we managed the Shoals area, and we are pleased with the great outcome this year to protect and preserve its natural environment.” 

The Tahoe Blue Beaches program provides a customized approach to address each beach’s challenges during the busy summer season. The goal is to make the right choice the easy choice for beachgoers to enjoy Tahoe responsibly.  

“The LTBMU is grateful for the collaboration and coordinated efforts of concessionaires, law enforcement and emergency response agencies, Destination Stewardship partners, and volunteers whose efforts leading up to and during July 4 helped make the busy holiday a success,” said Forest Supervisor, Erick Walker. “We also want to thank the many responsible visitors who recreated well, put their trash in approved containers, and enjoyed the beautiful outdoors around Lake Tahoe.” 

The 2024 cleanup event was made possible with the support of League’s generous donors and partners: Aramark DestinationsBally’s Lake TahoeCalifornia State ParksCamp Richardson ResortCity of South Lake TahoeClean Up The LakeECO-CLEAN SolutionsHeavenly Mountain ResortKirkwood Mountain ResortNorthstar Mountain ResortStio Mountain Studio TahoeTahoe City Downtown AssociationTahoe City Public Utility DistrictUSDA Forest Service Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit (LTMBU), and Vista Recreation. 

The League to Save Lake Tahoe is aligned with and taking action to implement the Lake Tahoe Destination Stewardship Plan in collaboration with over 20 regional organizations. The award-winning plan, developed with the participation of over 3,000 residents, visitors, and businesses, establishes a shared vision for the region’s outdoor recreation and tourism and encourages everyone to help take care of Tahoe’s cherished communities and environment. Visit to learn more and read the plan.  




Media Resources: Photos and videos 

Media Contacts: 
Chris Joseph, Communications Director, League to Save Lake Tahoe, 530.541.5388 ext.206

The League to Save Lake Tahoe is the donor-funded, science-based organization of environmental experts and Tahoe-lovers behind Keep Tahoe Blue. We have led the protection and regeneration of the Lake since 1957 and remain the central environmental body in the Basin. The Tahoe Basin sits at the nexus of two states, five counties, and dozens of agencies and nonprofits. We are the one organization making sure everyone works together towards the same goal – to Keep Tahoe Blue. Our work is made possible through the generosity of our donors and volunteers. Learn more at  

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