Smokey Bear turns 75; birthday celebrations scheduled in South Lake Tahoe |

Smokey Bear turns 75; birthday celebrations scheduled in South Lake Tahoe

Smokey enjoys some hugs from James Miller, 8, left, Skylar Miller, 12, and Rebekah Miller, 6 at the Fire Fest on Saturday at South Tahoe Middle School.
Julie Sullivan / Tahoe Daily Tribune

A very famous bear is celebrating a notable birthday.

Smokey Bear, the Forest Service icon, turns 75 on Friday, Aug. 9, and to mark the occasion the Forest Service Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit is partnering with Great Basin Institute and Heavenly Mountain Resort to host two events.

The first will take place Friday, Aug. 9, at 1 p.m. at the Taylor Creek Visitor Center

The celebration includes a meet and greet with Smokey Bear, photo ops, birthday cake, coloring station, storytime, Smokey Bear scavenger hunt and fire education information.

The visitor center is located on California Route 89, approximately 3 miles northwest of the city of South Lake Tahoe. This event is free and open to all ages.

The next day, Aug. 10, Smokey Bear will be at the Heavenly Mountain Resort Gondola starting at 11 a.m.

Smokey — known for his signature phrase “only you can prevent wildfires” — will be available for photo ops at the bottom of the gondola and then will board the gondola and ride up to the midstation at noon. Smokey will stick around for another photo op, before heading to the top of the gondola where he will be available for more photo ops beginning roughly at 1 p.m.

The Heavenly Gondola is located at the Heavenly Village in South Lake Tahoe. This event is open to all ages but does require a gondola ticket if proceeding to the midstation and top of the gondola.

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