League to Save Lake Tahoe won’t slow down | TahoeDailyTribune.com

League to Save Lake Tahoe won’t slow down

“Keep Tahoe Blue” – the League to Save Lake Tahoe’s maxim is on bumperstickers everywhere.

“Somebody wrote us a letter and said they saw the bumpersticker on a car in Japan,” said Heidi Hill Drum, the League’s communications director. “I saw one once in Santa Barbara and I’ve seen them in the Bay Area.”

The motto has been around since the organization changed names in 1966 from the original Tahoe Improvement and Conservation Association, founded in 1957, to the League to Save Lake Tahoe.

“The association mainly concerned itself with the establishment of state parks in the basin,” said Rochelle Nason, executive director since 1993. “In 1965 the focus changed to regional planning and a more watershed-based approach and that has remained our approach.”

“Keep Tahoe Blue” became a bumpersticker during the ’70s.

Today, the stickers have become an identification mark, hanging on fenders, bumpers and bicycles on all shores.

But the message is more than a lifestyle statement, the motto sums up the organization’s mission.

That mission is accomplished through a number of efforts, Nason said.

“Primarily, we are the leading lobbyist for Lake Tahoe in Congress and the California legislature,” she said. “We try to secure money so that the Forest Service, the California Tahoe Conservancy and local governments can carry out the projects they need to do, and we have been very successful in that regard.”

Nason and assistant director Dave Roberts also provide a voice for Lake Tahoe.

“Another of our major functions is acting as a watch dog for the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, the Forest Service and other agencies,” said Nason. “We monitor project plans and sometimes sue the agency if they violate the law in ways that damage the environment.”

Hill Drum said much of her job is dedicated to community outreach, trying to get new members to join the cause.

Recently, through music benefits and less-expensive student memberships, the League has been reaching out to the younger populations.

Members are from as far away as Pennsylvania and Texas.

“They visit and fall in love with Lake Tahoe and the membership is a way for them to continually stay in touch with it even if they don’t live here,” Hill Drum added.

Of the 4,500 members, about 1,500 are residents of the Lake Tahoe Basin. About 71 percent of those members have joined with a pledge of less than $100.

Memberships made up about one-fifth of the League’s 1999-2000 budget of $677,361. At $289,119, the largest expense in 1999-2000 went to fund the salaries of the 10-person staff.

The league also relies on volunteers to help carry out its mission. Volunteers are needed to perform a variety of jobs including including beach cleanup, forest monitoring, stormdrain stenciling, sticker distribution, visitor surveys, office help and Tahoe stewardship days.

The League to Save Lake Tahoe is hosting a volunteer workshop Monday at its information office at 955 Emerald Bay Road. The meeting, which begins at 6 p.m., will provide information about the different volunteer programs. Call Joshua Boldt at (530) 541-5388 for details.

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