After over a third of a century of operation in less than ideal conditions, Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care (LTWC) has found a permanent new home. On May 15, LTWC entered into an agreement to lease/purchase nearly 27 acres of undeveloped land from pioneer Lake Tahoe family, the Springmeyers. The site is located within the City of South Lake Tahoe and boarders Al Tahoe Blvd. and Pioneer Trail. This location is near Bijou Park and will facilitate an even greater opportunity to rescue, rehabilitate and eventually release back into the wild injured and orphaned wildlife from the Lake Tahoe Region and beyond. The move has been ten years in the making with many potential sites reviewed and studied for overall best fit not only for LTWC but also for the community and all local, state, and federal agencies that are partners with LTWC. Phase One (the rehabilitation center) will cost approximately $2.5 million dollars and Phase Two (the education facility and wildlife sanctuary) will cost approximately $12 million dollars.
LTWC has recently received several generous donations allowing this land acquisition. In particular, we would like to recognize the estate of Barbara Hartoonian (another pioneer Lake Tahoe family), Marjorie Springmeyer, her daughter-in-law Bonnie, and Bonnie’s three children: Erin, Sara, and Ryan. While these two families were very instrumental in making this dream a reality, there has been uncountable generosity from all parts of the globe in keeping LTWC functional over the years and we thank each and every one of you.
LTWC was established in 1978 and remains today as an independent non-profit 501(c) (3) tax-exempt organization. Our mission is simple: we raise, rehabilitate and release wild animals in need of care. LTWC has cared for more than 24,000 injured and displaced animal and birds over the past 35 years, returning over 14,000 back to the wild. Currently we operate on .75 acres in a residential neighborhood which has created its own challenges. The need to relocate is long overdue. The completed sanctuary will contain a full scale wildlife rehabilitation center, an area to view the care and treatment of injured wildlife, a wildlife sanctuary that provides free-roaming areas within natural habitat, and a long-term home for animals and birds that cannot be reintroduced into the wild.
Through extensive research and planning for this relocation and expansion, an Economic Impact Analysis was conducted by Dornbusch Associates. Based on the numbers at the time (2006), this venture can be expected to bring economic growth to our community through jobs and tourist dollars. Solid expectations in excess of $40 million dollars, over the next ten years, upon completion of the project, can be expected to the South Lake Tahoe area. We believe this project captures the spirit of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency’s triple bottom line: economic, social, and environmental benefit.