City increases El Dorado boat ramp fees as water level drops
Prices increased and water levels dropped – probably not the combination the city was looking for.
The South Lake Tahoe City Council approved an increase in boat ramp fees at the El Dorado Beach boat ramp last fall, but boaters may have a tough time launching their boats this year due to the low lake level – a level that will continue to drop an additional foot and half as water is diverted to the Truckee River to insure activities such as rafting and kayaking, said federal water master Gary Stone.
Day-use passes for residents increased from $10 to $15. Commercial day passes went from $25 to $30. Day-use for non-resident increased from $13 to $20.
A sign is posted at the boat ramp warning boaters to use the ramp at their own risk, and the sale of the annual pass has been temporarily suspended, said Steve Weiss, park and recreation superintendent.
But even though water levels may not be helping boaters launch their boats at El Dorado Beach boat ramp, the lake is at its 75-year average, Stone said.
“The reason it seems so low is we had six wet years right in a row,” Stone said.
Rick Muller, owner of the Sportsman, said he has heard people complaining about the El Dorado Beach boat ramp.
“It is just impossible,” he said. “If you have a boat that is 20 feet or larger, it’s not going to happen.”
Weiss said the city sold only a dozen annual passes this year, and he will handle complaints on an individual basis. Annual passes for residents now cost $75. He said the ramp has been open since May 1, and boaters may have had an opportunity to use the pass three or four times, which is enough to pay for the pass when compared to daily rates.
Councilman Bill Crawford is in favor of returning funds to annual pass holders, but he doesn’t think it will have a significant impact on revenues or on boaters, who can use other boat ramps around the lake.
“It’s unfortunate that the boat ramp is unusable,” Crawford said. “But that, in my book, is not a catastrophic situation for anybody, because there are still ways for people to get their boat in the lake.”
Councilman Tom Davis said that if people can’t use the ramp, the city should compensate them.
“They deserve a refund,” he said. “Absolutely, if you can’t produce a product you give them a refund. That is just good business.”
Weiss said there is chance the boat ramp could be closed this year, but it wouldn’t be the first time. Weiss said the ramp closed on three separate occasions, during drought years, since the ramp was constructed in the late 1970s.
The city expected to gross an additional $16,000 this year due to increases in boat fees. That figure is above the $36,800 the ramp grossed last year.
But it looks like this year those figures may fall short. Weiss estimates the ramp will only gross $10,000 this year, but he said it will not have a significant effect on the park and recreation budget.
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
Readers around the Lake Tahoe Basin and beyond make the Tahoe Tribune's work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.
Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.
Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.
Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.
User Legend: Moderator Trusted User