Labor Day weekend wrap-up
Labor Day weekend, South Shore’s last summer hurrah, brought a healthy load of visitors, as well as some blissfully warm weather and clear skies.
Resorts and area businesses reported a solid, busy holiday.
“Everything went beautifully. It was a really mellow, nice crowd. Plus, the weather was gorgeous – that helps a lot,” said Missy Springer, assistant general manager for Camp Richardson.
Labor Day weekend, said Springer, traditionally marks the beginning of a change in the South Shore tourism industry – progressively attracting quieter crowds who love Tahoe for its natural beauty and peacefulness.
“On July Fourth weekend, people are generally a little more frantic because it’s the beginning of summer and they’re hell-bent on having a good time, but Labor Day weekend is just a lot more mellow,” Springer said. “Now we start having different types of groups. The whole fall season is geared around a different kind of reservation, people looking for a gentler time. Now is when we begin presenting a whole new side of Tahoe to our visitors.”
With increased law enforcement patrolling both sides of the state line, the weekend reportedly remained relatively calm, without any major problems or accidents. Although sirens could often be heard wailing across the area throughout Saturday and Sunday nights, only a few minor incidents were reported.
“It was really slow for us, even though we had a lot of people in town it appeared that everyone came up to see the fireworks and the races – not to get into trouble,” said Sgt. Steve O’Brien of the South Lake Tahoe Police Department. “Accidents were down, drunk driving was very low (only two arrests). It was just a normal weekend. We were surprised at the reduction in traffic collisions – only four vehicle vs. vehicle.”
Both the Nevada and California Highway Patrol reported very little trouble, although traffic leaving the basin for the Bay Area Monday was stop-and-go all the way to the top of Echo Summit.
“It’s a mess out there, but everyone is behaving,” said California Highway Patrol public information officer Steve Gwaltney. “We have as many units out there as we can – just having law enforcement visible curtails a lot of potential problems.”
Gwaltney said the highway patrol was called on two minor vehicle accidents and arrested three drunk drivers over the weekend.
Jodi Ballard, perhaps the only Tahoe Douglas Visitors Center staff member working Monday, said she estimated nearly 800 people passed through the visitors center over the weekend, asking for information.
“A lot of them were first-time visitors who just couldn’t get over how gorgeous Lake Tahoe is,” Ballard said. “It was so busy for us, people wanted to know where to camp, where to go, what to see – it was wonderful, they were so excited.”
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SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — Officials said conversations are occurring daily in regards to reopening U.S. Highway 50, but there is still no estimated date as to when traffic may start flowing again.