Celebrations on the Fourth of July in Lake Tahoe capture just how incredible the Jewel of the Sierras truly is. Tourists flock to the area and contribute to the local economy, families are brought together, music from local artists fills the air, and everyone is outside enjoying the awe-inspiring natural landscape that is Lake Tahoe.
Some of my earliest Fourth of July memories bring me back to playing at the beach and watching fireworks with my family at Lake Tahoe. It was Lake Tahoe that inspired me to pursue a career as an environmental attorney and what has ultimately brought me back to protect this idyllic location.
I moved back to the region and started working at the League to Save Lake Tahoe during a critical time for Lake Tahoe. The past two years have seen unprecedented collaboration in an area reputed for being highly contentious. The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency finalized the Regional Plan Update which included agreements from environmental agencies including the League, local governments, and the business community, as well as both California and Nevada. It was the first time the many stakeholders have worked together to find ways to stimulate the economy while also providing for environmental safeguards aimed at protecting Lake Tahoe. Both California and Nevada came to an agreement over different legislative bills that continue the commitment of both states to the future of Lake Tahoe. Being able to participate in the creation of policy in such a remarkable time of Lake Tahoe’s history is nothing short of inspiring. This spirit of collaboration is needed to improve the economy of this area, invigorate the local communities, and most importantly, to protect our national resource.
Joining the Tahoe Regional Young Professionals has continued to foster my hope for the future of Lake Tahoe. As this organization continues to grow, it continues to mold the next generation of those living in the Basin. I have been able to meet and work with other motivated young professionals in the area that want to give back to the community. The opportunities to volunteer, raise money for local causes, participate in community workshops and develop professionally are invaluable. Prior to the formation of this organization, these opportunities were not nearly as accessible and much harder to come by. The level of commitment in this organization that I have seen makes me believe that this group can serve as a model for other similarly situated associations.
For the Fourth of July I celebrated in this beautiful place I call home. As I stared into the crystal blue waters surrounded by friends and family, I reflected on all that has been accomplished the past two years in protecting the lake and restoring the spirit of this community. Engage with your natural surroundings to build a stronger connection to it. This will help all those in the basin this summer recognize the value of participating in local jurisdiction policy updates, beach cleanups, community fundraisers, and supporting local music.
Shannon Eckmeyer is a member of Tahoe Regional Young Professionals. She is a policy analyst for the League to Save Lake Tahoe.