This opinion column was submitted by Andy Chapman, Travel North Tahoe Nevada.
A new vision — one that emphasizes sustainability and inclusiveness — is establishing strong roots among leaders of the visitor-driven economic sectors at Lake Tahoe.
And it’s not just Lake Tahoe that’s pledging itself to the new paradigm. When leading content creators, bloggers, photographers and marketers from around the nation joined with us at Lake Tahoe’s Incline Village for the 2022 Outdoor Media Summit in late October, participants were eager to share the insights developed by destinations across the globe that have launched strategies to create a strong, sustainable and inclusive travel industry.
During the three-day summit sponsored by Travel North Tahoe Nevada, more than 150 media experts from across the nation discussed best practices to engage their armies of social-media followers and speak directly to government leaders about reduction of the environmental impact of outdoor recreation. While several conference sessions focused specifically on tactics to reduce the pollution of waste plastic, participants reminded us that sustainable outdoor recreation involves numerous actions, great and small, that make a significant difference.
Travel North Tahoe Nevada, an organization that gives priority to stewardship as it encourages the travel experiences that support a vibrant local economy, shows how the new vision can become a reality. We begin our work each day with a profound appreciation of the irreplaceable beauty and limitless recreation possibilities of Lake Tahoe. We are thankful each day, too, for the unparalleled commitment to stewardship demonstrated by residents and visitors alike. The leaders of Travel North Tahoe Nevada have committed the organization to responsible visitation that supports our vibrant economy, enhances the character of our community and builds strong environmental stewardship.
Here’s how that lofty goal is playing out:
We ask visitors to take the Traveler Responsibility Pledge to act to act as stewards of Lake Tahoe, leaving conditions better than they found them. We ask them to act with kindness, remain mindful of the environmental effects of their actions, protect our communities from wildfire and observe wildlife from a respectful distance. Visitors’ response has been overwhelmingly positive. (Learn more about sustainable travel in Lake Tahoe here.)
Travel North Tahoe Nevada and its partners are committed to investment in the tools that visitors need so they can travel responsibly while visiting North Lake Tahoe. We provided important financial and organizational support for the development of a free ride-share program that allows visitors to leave their vehicles behind. The program, TART Connect, has delivered more than 315,000 rides within the three North Lake Tahoe zones with more than 125,000 just in the Incline Village and Crystal Bay region. With visitors, locals and residents all using TART Connect we are all contributing to reduced air pollution, traffic and parking congestion.
To cite another example, we led the effort to replace the noise, trash and air pollution associated with traditional Independence Day fireworks shows over Lake Tahoe with a “SkyShow” created by a fleet of drones. This event was the first and largest commercial drone show flown over Lake Tahoe and was enjoyed by more than 5,000 spectators.
Travel North Tahoe Nevada works closely with partners such as The League to Save Lake Tahoe, the UC Davis Environmental Research Center, the North Lake Tahoe Resort Association, the Tahoe Fund, and Take Care Tahoe on initiatives to support a sustainable travel sector. In fact, a full 10 percent of the budget of Travel North Tahoe Nevada is dedicated to sustainability initiatives on an annual basis.
We have much work ahead to strengthen responsible travel at Lake Tahoe, but we have made the commitment to protect this region for generations to come. We have taken important first steps, and we’re pleased that outdoors recreation leaders around the nation share this vision.
Andy Chapman is with Travel North Tahoe Nevada.
Have your say:How to submit an opinion column or letter to the editor