TRPA to eye plan for West Shore parking, access, traffic issues

Access to Tahoe’s back country has been restricted due to a lack of available public parking along the West Shore, particularly in the winter. | Scott Rokis

The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency is set to hold meetings with stakeholders to help shape the future of transportation, access, traffic management, parking and other issues along a section of Lake Tahoe’s West Shore that is most heavily visited in the Tahoe Sierra.

The section of the Highway 89 corridor being discussed stretches from South Lake Tahoe to Tahoma and is home to Emerald Bay, Eagle Falls, Vikingsholm Castle, D.L. Bliss State Park, Sugar Pine Point Stage Park, numerous pristine beaches and trailheads that provide access to hiking and mountain biking trails in the summer, along with back-country ski and snowmobile access in the winter.

Tahoe Weekly has been covering the back-country access issue, and you can read more about the issues faced by recreational users in our story “Back country access | A Waiting Game.”

Highway 89, a two-lane mountain roadway, is the only access route to many of these popular recreation areas and serves almost 1.8 million visitors annually, according to TRPA.

The SR 89 Recreation Corridor Management Plan, led by the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, Tahoe Transportation District and the U.S. Forest Service Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit, brings together 17 agencies and organizations to develop transportation and visitation management strategies and address the challenges of the corridor’s extensive transportation and recreation travel demand. This plan covers:

  • Emerald Bay, one of California’s 36 National Natural Landmark sites, is one of Lake Tahoe’s most popular and photographed locations.
  • Almost 12 miles of undeveloped shoreline offer beach access to sites such as Meeks Bay, Sugar Pine Point State Park, Baldwin Beach, Camp Richardson and Pope Beach.
  • Seven trailheads provide day hike access to waterfalls and alpine lakes as well as back-country and wilderness access for overnight recreation opportunities

The SR 89 Recreation Corridor Implementation Plan boundaries are from West Way just outside the City of South Lake Tahoe and extends to the county line at Tahoma.

Click here to view a boundary map.

The SR 89 Recreation Corridor Implementation Plan kicked-off in March 2018. Project Team member organizations include: California Highway Patrol, California Lands Management, California State Parks, Camp Richardson Resort, Caltrans, Cal Fire, El Dorado County, El Dorado County Sherriff’s Office, Lake Valley Fire Protection District, Fallen Leaf Fire Protection District, Meeks Bay Fire Protection District, Tahoe Fund, Washoe Tribe, Federal Highway Administration California Division, TRPA, TTD and USFS.

The group is expected to review existing plans and projects, determine data needs and review consultant analysis, brainstorm project and program solutions to identified needs, undertake agreements for implementation, operations, and maintenance, pose issues for higher-level issue assistance, and review final planning documents.

Get involved

As part of the planning process, TRPA be asking the public for feedback as to how, when and where users travel, what experiences are like once visiting the area, and what would encourage users to change the way you travel. To stay up-to-date on input opportunities, sign up for the e-news and click the SR 89 Recreation Corridor Implementation Plan box.

Surveys will be opened at the end of July and announced through e-news.

Workshops are expected to start in late July, and opportunities for input will be available at the Lake Tahoe Summit on Aug. 7 at Sand Harbor (register here) and at the Camp Richardson Oktoberfest on Oct. 6 and 7.

In person interviews throughout the SR 89 Corridor will be conducted in July and August.

There will also be Stakeholder Focus Groups by invitation only. If any interested group has not received an invitation to a focus group meeting, and believe you are a relevant stakeholder for this corridor, contact Morgan Beryl at [email protected] or (775) 589-5208.

The group expects to have a 30-Day Review of a Draft Plan in Winter 2018-19.