Safety Tips for July Fourth

Courtesy Think First

The Fourth of July holiday period is the busiest time of year in the Tahoe Basin. U.S. Forest Service Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit asks residents and visitors to share in the stewardship of public lands and to keep the following tips in mind to help everyone enjoy a safe and fun holiday.

Alcohol bans
To promote public safety, an alcohol ban will be in effect at the following locations: Nevada Beach, Zephyr Cove Resort and Zephyr Shoals on July 4 from 6 a.m. until midnight; and Chamber’s Landing Beach from July 1 to 6. The Alcohol Ban Forest Order and maps will be posted. |

There is also a permanent alcohol ban on the Truckee River and its islands during the Fourth of July weekend. Placer County also has a permanent alcohol ban in effect every year from July 1 to 6 on the banks of the Truckee River from Tahoe City to the upstream edge of the Alpine Meadows Bridge. The ban extends 3 feet up from the river’s high water mark on each bank, including islands and bridges.

Fireworks and Campfire Bans
Wildfire prevention is everyone’s responsibility. Keep in mind fireworks of any kind, including firecrackers and sparklers, are illegal in the Tahoe Basin. Campfires and charcoal fires are only allowed in metal fire rings or stand-up grills provided at developed recreation sites, such as Fallen Leaf and Nevada Beach campgrounds.

Campfires, bonfires and portable charcoal grills are not permitted on National Forest beaches in Desolation Wilderness, Meiss Country, along Genoa Peak Road and the Tahoe Rim Trail or in any existing rock fire rings. Portable propane/pressurized gas stoves are allowed in all areas with a free, valid California Campfire Permit. |

What to Expect
Expect extremely crowded conditions on local roads, highways, parking lots and restrooms. Because of the area’s high elevation, expect intense sunlight during the day and cooler temperatures at night. Bring a hat, sunscreen, jacket and carry a flashlight. Don’t forget to drink plenty of water throughout the day to stay hydrated. Make camping reservations in advance; don’t expect to find spaces without a reservation. |

Lake Tahoe beaches will be much narrower than in previous years due to the huge winter. Some beaches with vegetation or rocky shoreline may be inaccessible.

Lack of cell coverage
Due to the influx of visitors, mobile device networks may be overwhelmed and mobile phones and other devices may not work in some areas. Develop an alternate plan to contact family and friends and develop an emergency plan in case you need and cannot call for help.

Consider public transportation. Holiday traffic and road construction make for extremely crowded roads and parking areas. Walk, carpool or bicycle to avoid limited parking in crowded recreation areas, heavy traffic and delays after the firework displays. At developed recreation sites, parking is allowed only in designated parking spaces inside the parking lots and not along the roadway. Do not block road access or narrow lanes, which could delay emergency vehicle response. Where parking on the side of the road is allowed, do not park on vegetation as this can spark a wildfire.

Day-use parking fees for July 4 at Baldwin, Pope and Nevada beaches will be $30 and at Zephyr Cove Beach $40 to cover increased security and facility maintenance costs of the holiday.

There will be free, additional park and ride services available for the July 3 fireworks in Kings Beach and the July 4 fireworks in Tahoe City. Details on how to take the bus and ditch the car are available at

Dogs and other pets
Respect the rules on where pets are allowed. Dogs are NOT allowed on National Forest designated swim beaches.

Leashed pets are welcome at Kiva Picnic area and Echo Lakes on the South Shore; Zephyr Shoals, Hidden and Chimney beaches on the East Shore; Coon Street Beach in King’s Beach and Kaspian and 64 Acres beaches in Tahoe City. |

Don’t Be a Litter Bug
Be responsible for picking up and disposing of your trash in appropriate trash receptacles. If the trash can or dumpster is overflowing, take your trash with you. Trash and debris left behind after festivities can be harmful and even fatal to wildlife. Staff will be handing out trash bags at many of recreation sites.

Consider volunteering for the League to Save Lake Tahoe’s Annual Keep Tahoe Red, White and Blue Beach Clean-Ups from 8 to 11:30 a.m. on July 5. Help clean up sites all around Lake Tahoe. |

For more information and to keep abreast of safety concerns or regulations, visit Facebook Lake Tahoe USFS