A history lesson without the nightlife: Explore Tahoe opens
The chain-linked fence surrounding the entrance came down and visitors’ eyes lit up as members of the public got their first glimpse of a new visitor center near Stateline on Friday afternoon.
“Explore Tahoe,” located on the bottom floor of the Heavenly Village Transit Center, and billed as an “urban trailhead” by its designers, entwines a wealth of natural history, recreation and transportation information to an area of town better known for its nightlife.
“For a long time, (basin agencies) have been fairly good at providing information for people who were actively seeking it,” said Ray Lacey, deputy director of the California Tahoe Conservancy, while checking out the center on Friday. “The difference here is we are bringing information to an untapped audience.”
The conservancy contributed almost $1.5 million to the approximately $2 million project.
A large plasma screen television displaying continuous clips about the Lake Tahoe Basin, and a kid’s table with a wildlife guessing game received much of the initial attention, including some from Merced resident, William Myrick, who was being grilled by his son, Liam, over the animal he thought “hunts around Lake Tahoe, but is rarely seen.”
William Myrick didn’t guess it was a mountain lion, but seemed impressed by the center nonetheless, describing it as “very nice,” and adding that nearly his whole family stopped in on their way to Heavenly Mountain Resort’s gondola.
The City of South Lake Tahoe Parks and Recreation Department is managing the center, and will get seasonal help from the U.S. Forest Service in the summer and Heavenly during the winter.
Explore Tahoe will be open from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. throughout this week. This “soft opening” comes in anticipation of the official grand opening on July 20. After the grand opening, hours for the center will be 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., seven days a week.