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September 6, 2012
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Annual expo another step toward creating a sustainable Tahoe

Mark your calendars for Saturday and Sunday, because the Tahoe Expo, an event aimed at promoting sustainable tourism in the basin through outdoor excursions, is coming to Tahoe.

The weekend event hosted by Sustainable Tahoe takes place around Lake Tahoe, extending to Pyramid Lake, allowing visitors to connect with the land, water, wildlife, history, culture and businesses of the area all the while minimizing their carbon footprint.

Jacquie Chandler, executive director of Sustainable Tahoe, described the Tahoe Expo as "getting connected to Tahoe at the deepest level."

To help facilitate that connection, a variety of excursions are scheduled throughout the two-day event.

They include fly fishing, paddleboard yoga, a kayak tour of the upper Truckee River's ecosystem, sightings of Nevada Wild mustangs, a tour of a green home and views of what lurks beneath the lake's surface from a live submarine feed among others.

"I think we've tried to assess and provide an opportunity for all interest groups to experience the lake in a new manner," said Adam Henriques, the event's adventure track coordinator, who is working through the Tahoe Resource Conservation District.

Each excursion will be lead by a guide and will feature two or three actives along with a provided lunch and transportation.

Tom Wendell, the expo's transportation coordinator, said several modes of transportation will be utilized during the excursions, from water taxis and public buses to "human-powered activities" such as biking and hiking, preventing participants from having to provide their own transportation to each activity - all the while helping reduce the number of cars on the road.

"We're trying to create a fully inclusive package," Henriques said.

The two-day event will end with a party from 5:30 to 10 p.m. Sunday at the Horizon Resort in South Lake Tahoe, featuring the excursion guides along with live music, an expo raffle and drinks. Admission costss $20 at the door.

Geotourism is a trend in travel that helps to sustain or enhance the geographical character of a place - its environment, culture, heritage and the well-being of its residents - which the Tahoe Expo will showcase this weekend.

Chandler said Tahoe's current "menu" of tourist activities is "limited," with the emphasis being on skiing and going to casinos.

The Tahoe Expo is trying to expand that menu by offering "new ways for visitors to play," Chandler said, ways that don't leave much of an environmental mark.

It's through these excursions visitors get a chance to interact with the environment and gain knowledge about it and the threats it faces, Wendell said.

"You'll treat the area with more respect because (you're) more invested in it," he said.

With visitors being more respectful of the area, it motivates them to help maintain the clarity of the lake and the health of the watershed for years to come, Chandler said.

"It makes visitors more part of the solution and not the problem," Wendell said. "We're all part of the problem because of human actives."

Chandler said collaboration is key to creating a sustainable Tahoe.

"Working in harmony with the land is the way to be," she said.

Yet it extends beyond that. Helping to put on this showcase of geotourism includes the excursion guides, restaurants, rental stores, transportation companies, environmental organizations, foundations, government agencies as well as volunteers.

Wendell said the dream for the event is to have it more than just once a year.

"The idea is to extend it into the shoulder seasons on a regular basis now that we're offering more alternatives (for people) instead of the same old, same old," he said.


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Tahoe Daily Tribune Updated Sep 6, 2012 06:27PM Published Sep 6, 2012 06:07PM Copyright 2012 Tahoe Daily Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.