Dennis Machida Memorial Greenway dedicated
Special to the Tribune
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — After 20 years of work, the Dennis T. Machida Memorial Greenway is complete.
Machida was a champion for protecting and improving natural and recreational resources at Lake Tahoe. He was instrumental in establishing the California Tahoe Conservancy and other state conservancies. He was an innovator and a groundbreaking Asian American leader in environmental conservation.
In the 1950’s the state of California planned to establish a four-lane freeway through South Lake Tahoe where the bike path is located, east of the Trout Creek bridge. Thanks to early innovations by Machida and collaboration with the Lake Tahoe Environmental Improvement Program which included the California Tahoe Conservancy, Caltrans, city of South Lake Tahoe, El Dorado County, Lake Tahoe Community College and Tahoe Regional Planning Agency.
The original dedication, intended for September of 2021, was rescheduled due to COVID-19 and Caldor Fire.
On Thursday, the ribbon was cut and the greenway was officially dedicated to the first executive officer of the Conservancy. Machida inspired the initiation of other conservancies and left a legacy that inspired many to continue the works to protect, connect, and unify Lake Tahoe.
While the Greenway is the most recent completion it is only a segment of a massive project inspired to connect the Tahoe Basin communities with a unified system of shared-use trails. The current plans introduce trails that connect from Stateline to Meyers using the same planned direction of what could have been the freeway. Informational signs will be on site to educate all visitors of the impact Machida had and the dreams he had for the land that his son and future generations would inherit.
“The Greenway provides the backbone of the South Shore’s shared-use trail network,” according to the Conservancy website. “By filling key missing links in the local trail network, the Greenway makes it easier to get around South Lake Tahoe without a car. Climate resilience is embedded in the trail’s design, which protects sensitive stream corridors and wetland habitat, while providing a route that is less likely to be disrupted by flooding and severe storms.”
At the dedication, the Conservancy Board also agreed to accept $500,000 in federal funding for the planning effort. The Conservancy plans to restore a section of the river and its floodplain near Lake Tahoe Airport and U.S. Highway 50. The restoration will increase climate resilience and enhance wildlife habitat, biodiversity, and water quality.
“Restoring the Upper Truckee River and its watershed is essential to the long-term health of Lake Tahoe,” said Conservancy Board Chair and El Dorado County Supervisor Sue Novasel. “It’s exciting to see how this project will build on past work done by the Conservancy and our partners to improve this stretch of the river.”
The Conservancy board also approve a land exchange of 18 acres that will be transferred to the Tahoe City Public Utility District, including properties near the Tahoe Cedars neighborhood in Tahoma and in the Highlands neighborhood east of Tahoe City. In return, the Conservancy will receive 107 acres of environmentally sensitive, open space land near Quail Lake in the Homewood area. This exchange supports California’s Pathways 30×30 strategy, as it increases the amount of state-owned land that the Conservancy will manage to protect wildlife habitat, biodiversity, open space, and public access.
For a virtual tour of the South Tahoe Greenway Project visit https://youtu.be/0lMmevXY0As.
For more information on the South Tahoe Greenway shared use trail planning and future phases visit https://eip.laketahoeinfo.org/Project/FactSheet/03.02.02.0076.
For more information on the Greenway visit https://storymaps.arcgis.com/stories/76692c316f4440eabb804341d81b6d9a.
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