Campground sale planned |

Campground sale planned

William Ferchland
Jim Grant / Tahoe Daily Tribune / Tahoe Pines Campground has 900 feet of river frontage that will be restored under a partnership between the California Wildlife Foundation and the California Tahoe Conservancy.

A Meyers campground bordering the Upper Truckee River is set to be purchased for $4.2 million and restored into natural habitat under a partnership between two environmental organizations.

The Tahoe Pines Campground, which dates back to the 1930s, could be bought within a year’s time after the California Wildlife Foundation was awarded $3 million Friday.

With board approval, the California Tahoe Conservancy would chip in $1.4 million for the purchase and other expenses of the 8.1 acres of land.

The campground has 915 feet along the river, and with its sediment load is considered a polluter of Lake Tahoe. Tahoe Pines is open for summer months and shut down after Labor Day.

Tahoe Pines and neighboring KOA campgrounds are family owned and are for sale. Greg Poulen, owner of the 62-site Tahoe Pines for roughly 20 years, reserved comment until the sale is completed.

“Until it’s done deal it’s not a done deal,” he said.

The campground would often flood when the river could not longer shoulder high water, such as New Year’s Flood of 2006. Bare soil would erode into the water and is carried to Lake Tahoe.

The river’s water would also be impacted from the campground’s metal barbecues stuck in the ground, said Bruce Eisner, program manager for the conservancy.

“You’ve got all this happening within several feet from the edge of the river,” Eisner said. “It’s been used for decades and decades so the amount of compacted area immediately adjoining the river and in the flood plane is extensive.”

Ninety percent of the sediment into Lake Tahoe is from the Upper Truckee River along with two streams on the North Shore, the Blackwood and Ward creeks, said Julie Regan, spokeswoman for the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency.

The Upper Truckee River, though, carries more pollutants into Lake Tahoe than the two North Shore creeks, Regan said.

“The Upper Truckee River is a huge concern and it brings more sediment into Lake Tahoe than any other of the 63 tributaries,” she said.

Regan, as well as John Friedrich, program director for the League to Save Lake Tahoe, applauded the move.

“Good news for Lake Tahoe is what I would say,” Friedrich said.

The $3 million was awarded to the wildlife foundation under the Sierra Nevada-Cascade Conservation Grant Program through money from Proposition 50, also known as the Water Security, Clean Drinking Water, Coastal and Beach Protection Act.

Passed in 2002 by California voters, the proposition is geared to help fund organizations in protecting water quality in lakes, reservoirs, rivers, streams and wetlands.

“I think it keeps the common good for the public in mind,” said Janet Cobb, executive officer for the foundation.

Approximately $27.5 million was awarded to 15 Sierra Nevada communities, with the California Wildlife Foundation receiving the third highest amount.

The High Sierra Rural Alliance received $5.6 million for the Sierra Buttes/Lakes Basin acquisition project. A little more than 4 million was given to the Pacific Forest Trust for the Turner Creek Ranch conservation easement.

State Secretary for Resources Mike Chrisman announced the awards.

“These projects will protect more than 8,500 acres of working landscape and open space that, if developed, would decrease water quality in the region and degrade habitat values.”

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