Huge new visitor center proposed for Taylor Creek | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Huge new visitor center proposed for Taylor Creek

Gregory Crofton, Tahoe Daily Tribune

The U.S. Forest Service wants to build a 12,000-square-foot visitor center at Taylor Creek to better accommodate the thousands of people it attracts and tries to educate each year.

The visitor center in use today was built in 1960s and is only several hundred square feet. It is a teepee-like structure that houses two bathrooms and a small information counter.

“We have crowded conditions during spring and fall,” said Jackie Faike, Forest Service interpretive service supervisor. “We have no room for a classroom. What we have out there is short and sweet and doesn’t portray or convey what we like for folks to come away with.”

The Taylor Creek area attracts more than 400,000 people a year. Many come in the fall to watch kokanee salmon spawn and die or walk trails lined with interpretive signs.

The proposed building has not been designed and there is no estimate yet what it would cost. The Forest Service, though, said it aims to have the structure built within five years.

“We don’t have the funds to build it,” Faike said. “Once the forest supervisor makes the decision to go ahead with the project or not, then we’ll go out and try to find partnerships.”

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The visitor center would be built in front and adjacent to the teepee building. The project would not require construction of more parking spaces. The center would include a reception area, restrooms, audio-visual presentation space, exhibits and interpretive displays, a wilderness permit station and office space.

The agency on Wednesday released a report that details the environmental impact of the project. Comments on the report are due by June 5.

A copy of the report can be obtained at the South Lake Tahoe Branch of the El Dorado County Library, at the Forest Service Lake Tahoe Basin Management Office or on the Web at http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/ltbmu.

Written comments may be delivered to the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Supervisor’s Office, which is located at 870 Emerald Bay Road until May 13. It will remain closed until May 21 when it opens its new office at 35 College Drive off Al Tahoe Boulevard.

Send written comments by mail to: Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit, Forest Supervisor, attn: Expansion of Taylor Creek Visitor Center, South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150.

— Gregory Crofton can be reached at (530) 542-8045 or by e-mail at gcrofton@tahoedailytribune.com

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