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East shore access may become easier this summer

By Emily Aughinbaugh, Tribune staff writer

Gaining access to pristine, clothing-optional East Shore beaches may become easier this summer.

A draft of the East Shore Access Plan will be discussed by the Tahoe Transportation District Friday, Jan. 12, the first look at recommendations the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency developed since it started working on the proposal last March.

The goal of the plan was to provide access while preserving the pristine beauty of the East Shore, a popular place in the summer with limited parking.

The plan recommends the U.S. Forest Service parking lots be expanded by 45 spaces and building 117 roadside spaces.

There are only two parking lots between Secret Harbor and Chimney beaches which hold 52 cars, and parking along the highway is restricted.

This limited access is what has maintained the primitive beauty of the rocky east shoreline and is the primary way to keep people at bay, according to Forest Service Recreation Supervisor Don Lane.

“That’s one of (East Shore’s) saving graces, it’s still hard to get to,” Lane said. His hopes were raised that parking recommendations would soon be released, in August, he said.

Lane said the Forest Service tries to limit visitors to 500 a day, by restricting parking, however the TRPA found people park on the roadside along the Hidden Beach area.

With the TRPA’s access plan, the combined roadside and parking lot spaces would not exceed the daily level of use the Forest Service recorded last summer, according to TRPA.

The plan recommends short break-away posts be placed along roadside areas where people have parked but will not be allowed to in the future, eliminating 268 roadside parking spaces.

The operation of a shuttle service on weekdays and holidays is also being proposed, bringing people from parking lots to locations along the East Shore corridor. However, the TRPA said the number of people would be controlled so the recreational threshold would not be exceeded.

After the transportation district discusses the plan, it could be sent to TRPA’s Advisory Planning Commission and then to the Governing Board for approval, according to Richard Wiggins, TRPA’s transportation division chief.

What: Tahoe Transportation District meeting

When: 9 a.m. Friday, Jan. 12

Where: Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, 308 Dorla Court., Zephyr Cove

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