Expo focuses on sustainable Tahoe

By Priya Hutner  ·



Many of the people living in Tahoe embrace a deep love and connection to the environment. And, yet, our environment is suffering with increased traffic and trash.

How do we sustain and maintain the land and bodies of water we all have come to love?

Jacquie Chandler, the executive director of Sustainable Tahoe, has made it her mission to help foster a more sustainable Tahoe. The 4th Annual Tahoe Geotourism Expo being held over Labor Day Weekend is one way to support and learn more about the impact of humans on the Tahoe area.

The two-day expo on Aug. 30 and 31 brings people together to participate in both educational and exploratory adventures while immersing themselves more deeply into the Tahoe culture.

“We want our locals and visitors to have a more holistic experience and leave the community more pristine then when they arrived,” Chandler explains.

Chandler is passionate about Tahoe and says it is critical for local organizations to collaborate to enhance and sustain our area. Both Chandler and Sustainable Tahoe founder, John Hara, explain that there is a need for non-governmental organizations, whose mission it is to protect and educate, to work together with governmental agencies who have interest in compliance and cooperate with businesses who want to increase tourism and profit from that venture.

Sustainable Tahoe wants to help educate and create a new paradigm of prosperity for the area.

“When people come to Tahoe, businesses want them to eat, drink, sleep and shop. We are more than just a two-season destination,” Chandler says. “We want to encourage four seasons of prosperity.”

Hara says the he believes that locals and visitors to Tahoe can effect change from the grassroots level.

“Grassroots efforts make a difference in raising awareness of issues and motivating people to act. If we promote stewardship of the land and create understanding that there is much more to Tahoe then gaming, skiing, golfing and power boating on the lake, we’ve brought new awareness,” Hara explains. “Stewardship is about awareness, knowledge, action and preservation.”



What is geotourism?

Geotourism is defined as tourism that sustains or enhances the geographical character of a place, its environment, culture, aesthetics, heritage and the well being of its residents, according to the National Geographic Web site. Geotourism incorporates the concept of sustainable tourism and suggests that destinations should remain unspoiled for future generations while allowing for ways to protect a place’s character.



Weekend of culture & history

The amphitheater at Sand Harbor State Park will feature educational entertainment from an indigenous perspective with a musical theme of water as it relates to the lake.

Julian Forester, a celestial musician and master of sacred geometry, is both a performer and in charge of this year’s entertainment. He promises a transformational musical experience for those that attend this year’s event at the center stage.

“We want to create a sacred vibe and connection to the water and the land,” explains Forester.

Mary Youngblood, Sana Christian, Diana Woodbury of TOCCATA and Annie Hillman are among those headlining this year (See In The Groove in this issue). Each musician is lending his or her name in order to bring awareness to Lake Tahoe region. Veteran actor and producer Michael Cutt is the emcee.

The Washoe Tribe will offer cultural events, storytelling and basket weaving. The tribe also will recreate an 1840s reproduction of their ancestral camp. Using the Washoe term Laka’lelup, which means gathering or gathering of the one, the Washoe will demonstrate and illuminate their 10,000-year relationship with the lake and its sacredness. Ben Rupert will perform the Eagle Dance on stage.

Tyler Dean, a Washoe Tribe council member, says that he is happy that Sustainable Tahoe is including the Washoe Culture in its mission. The theme of Past, Present and Future is an important message to him.

“We need to learn from our past, and bring awareness in the present for the future of our children,” Dean says.

“It is disturbing to me what is happening in our area, for instance this past Fourth of July generated so much garbage on our beaches in just that one day it was unbelievable,” he explains. Deans’ band, Tin Splendor, will be performing, as well.


The weekend will host more than 20 Geotrack events. Geotracks are fun, meaningful, low-carbon activities that connect participants to the eight worlds of Tahoe – water, sky, plant, community, wildlife, land, culture and heritage.

Examples of Geotrack activities include a kayak adventure to the historic campsites occupied by Mark Twain in 1861, mountain biking on the Flume Trail, a tour on an electric bike, bouldering in South Lake or practicing yoga on a standup paddleboard. All of the events offer exciting adventures that are available in the area while illuminating issues that affect the area.

For more information or to register for the Geotracks, call (775) 846-1715 or visit tahoeexpo.com. The East Shore Express from Incline Village to Sand Harbor State Park will be running from 10 a.m. to 7:40 p.m., and TART buses will be in operation. Visit tahoetruckeetransit.com for details.

GEOTRACKS  |  Most Geotracks are offered Aug. 30 & 31. Register at tahoeexpo.com.

Bird Watching Tour of Spooner Lake | $10
Join the Tahoe Institute for Natural Science on an easy Geotrack around Spooner Lake. Search for its many bird species while exploring meadows, pine and fir forest, and aspen groves.

Flume Trail Tour | $45
Mountain biking tour of The Flume Trail on the East Shore to the Tunnel Creek Café.

Fly Fishing Tour | $180
Learn to fly-fish with a famous expert with exclusive access to a private stocked pond in Olympic Valley at 7 a.m. Learn the art of catch and release and basic casting and fishing techniques with Matt Heron Fly Fishing

Fly-fishing Tour of South Shore | $20
A lifetime love affair of fly-fishing and Lake Tahoe begins on this Geotrack. Get ready to meet the water wigglers and learn fly-fishing basics with guide Dan Ring of Tahoe Fly Fishing Outfitters

Heritage Tour of West Shore | $35
Bike Sugar Pine Point State Park through old-growth forests and visit the historic Ehrman Mansion. The mansion is one of Tahoe’s rare, and exclusive historic mansions and one of the first homesteads on the lake.

Homewood Mountain Resort Tour of West Shore | $60
This Geotrack is a physically involving, if not demanding, adventure to Lake Louise at the top of Homewood Ski Resort. Ride your mountain bike on Homewood’s trails. After arriving at this pristine lake, enjoy the cooling waters, so bring your swimsuit and if you love fresh trout, bring your fishing line.

In Depth Tour of Lake Tahoe | Free
Dive into Lake Tahoe and discover the wonders of science at the UC Davis Tahoe Science Center with a 3D Geotrack. Includes guided tour, hands-on science activities, 3D movie and more.

Laka’lelup Tour of Washoe Cultural | $5
The Washoe people share the past, present and future based on practices that sustained them for more than 10,000 years. The Laka’lelup, a Washoe cultural gathering, will bring people back in time to 1840, when their territory and summer home included the Lake Tahoe basin. Learn how Washoe ceremony, song and practices support a harmonious relationship with Tahoe. Includes storytelling, and demonstrations on flint knapping, basket weaving, rabbit skin blanket and more.

Mark Twain Tour of Tahoe | $20
This Geotrack is a time travel kayak tour that traces the trail left by America’s most intriguing, beloved and provocative writer visiting Mark Twain’s campsites and other sites that he wrote about.

Paddle Yoga Tour | $42
Beings with a mini standup paddleboard lesson and then move into an asana practice on Lake Tahoe.

Photo Tour of Sand Harbor | $55
With professional insight and guidance from Chris Talbot, learn how to capture the hidden beauty of the Lady of the Lake. Practice new angles, settings and focus skills from land and water (includes a custom boat tour) to capture the rapture of Tahoe’s famous East Shore

Pipe Tour of Lake Tahoe | $5
Test drive an electric bike and patrol storm drains for runoff in South Lake Tahoe.

River Paddle of Upper Truckee | $50
Increase your understanding and connection to a unique ecosystem with the California Tahoe Conservancy.

Rock Climbing Tour | $35
Spend the day learning bouldering techniques and safety while climbing with beginner and professional rock climbing athletes with several classes offered.

Sand Harbor Kayak Tour | $65
Take a kayak tour from sand harbor to the Thunderbird Lodge and back with professional insight and guidance.

Sunrise Immersion Tour of Sand Harbor | $40
Forever change one’s relationship with the water in this immersive and sacred Geotrack with a combination of yoga and paddleboarding.

Sunrise SUP Yoga Tour of Sand Harbor | $40
Combine standup paddleboarding with yoga at Sand Harbor.  Practicing yoga on an SUP builds endurance, balance, full body strength and coordination.

Tour of Independence Lake Preserve | Free
Join the Nature Conservancy for a tour of the Independence Lake Preserve north of Truckee, home to one of only two wild, self-sustaining lake populations of Lahontan cutthroat trout in the world

Trail Yoga Tour of Spooner Lake | $15
Move with the rhythm of the land and indulge in a yoga practice on trail around Spooner Lake for 2 miles.

Walking Tour of Al Tahoe | $10
Learn the history of South Lake Tahoe on a 2-mile walk in the Al Tahoe historic areas.

West Shore Transit Tour | $30
Enjoy a bus, bike, hike and water shuttle tour of the West Shore’s land, culture and heritage, including the Tahoe Maritime Museum, a historic marina and more.


Aug. 30 | Sand Harbor State Park

9 a.m. | Welcome & Round Dance

10 a.m. | Flint Knapping demo

11 a.m. | Bow & Arrow demo

11 a.m. | Washoe Storytelling

Noon | Fishing & Netting demo

Noon | Hand game demo

1 p.m. | Basket demo & hands on weaving

2 p.m. | Hunting & Rabbit Drive demo

3 p.m. | Rabbit Skin Blanket demo

3 p.m.-sunset | Benefit musical performances




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Priya Hutner
Priya is a writer, personal chef and meditation teacher. Having moved to the mountains from Sebastian, Fla., she embraces the Tahoe lifestyle and loves to ski, hike, paddle and swim. Priya is the owner of The Seasoned Sage, a business that prepares organic meals and facilitates workshops that promote a health-conscious lifestyle. Priya writes feature articles about music, art, food and recreation. She loves to immerse in story. Whether jumping from a plane, eating obscure foods or hitting the Tahoe-Reno music scene, she is always up for adventure and experience. She is currently writing a memoir about her experience living on an ashram and working on a series of cookbooks.