Caretaker needed for Dreyfus estate |

Caretaker needed for Dreyfus estate

by Jeff Munson, Tribune city editor

The U.S. Forest Service is making plans to find someone to operate and maintain a recreation complex at the former Dreyfus estate north of Zephyr Cove.

The 81-acre site includes nearly 3.5 miles of shoreline on Zephyr Cove and takes in about 75 acres of undeveloped open land with forest, field, and riparian stream vegetation.

The operator will be asked to keep the beaches and facilities open to the general public for the next 20 years. This includes a lakefront residence, a caretaker’s cottage with a six-car garage and a paved lane from Highway 50.

The name of the facility will be called Zephyr Shoals to distinguish it from the private Zephyr Cove Resort.

The property has been mired in controversy ever since the Forest Service acquired the property.

In 1995, the property was sold by Wall Street tycoon Jack Dreyfus for $28 million to the land brokerage firm Olympic Group, based in Arizona.

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In 1996, the group worked out a land swap with the federal government that allowed the Dreyfus estate to be managed by the Forest Service in exchange for about 1,800 acres in the suburbs of Las Vegas. The messy deal went unresolved for two years. At one point the public was locked out of the land it owned.

That’s when Minden-based Park Cattle Company bought a portion of the private land the mansion sat on from Olympic. Park chained the front gate saying they owned the driveway because they owned the house.

The issue was later resolved.

Last year, the Forest Service had a series of community meetings at the site to solicit input, ideas and comments. The Forest Service says the information was helpful in developing its outline for what it wants to do with the property.

“The meetings last June were very well attended and provided a positive, two-way process for ideas, as well as allowing us to define what would be appropriate for this special opportunity,” said Rex Norman, spokesman for Forest Service Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit.

The Forest Service developed a prospectus to meet its objectives for the property. According to Norman, the plan calls for protection of the property’s natural character while providing “a high-quality, low-impact outdoor recreational experience” on the shoreline and open-space lands; and to provide an economically viable business opportunity.

The concessionaire will be required to meet environmental and management goals, including managing outdoor recreation activities in the undeveloped open space, operating the actual home in “a fiscally self-sustaining manner” and providing safe access to the site.

To request a copy of the Zephyr Shoals Prospectus, write: Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit, Attention: Zephyr Shoals Prospectus, 870 Emerald Bay Road, Suite 1, South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150.