Letter to the editor: Developing eco-tourism and revitalizing Washoe culture could provide a unique tourism experience
I was thrilled to see the Tribune sporting a photo and article about Falco peregrinus (peregrine falcons) that have returned to nest at Da ow (Tahoe) after four decades. The return of endangered species and increases in species diversity are ecological indicators that reflect improved ecosystem health. The return of the falcons is due to the diligent environmental restoration projects and regulation over the last few decades.
The peregrine falcons are the fastest animals on the planet, diving at speeds exceeding 170 mile per hour. Bird watching is the most popular form of eco-tourism in the world and there are more than 30 million birders in the U.S. alone. The return of these birds to Tahoe will draw more eco-tourists than ever before.
Like losses in biodiversity, humanity has lost almost half of the languages on the Earth since the last falcons nested here. Revitalizing languages is a reflection of sociologic health bringing cultural vitality to that region. These communities begin to thrive and draw a vibrant new form of cultural tourism (ethno-tourism) to them resulting in sustainable economic growth and prosperity. The push of the Prosperity Plan and implementing geotourism in our community will have the same type of success, as the environmental work only the outcome will be in the form of a more affluent community and sustainable economic growth.
I encourage the community of South Lake Tahoe to recognize and support the revitalization of the Washoe language and culture as the foundation of geotourism in our area. By implementing a Washoe presence and other historical aspects enriches the “authentic cultural tourism experience.” By renaming our new park “Tahnu Leweh,” Washoe for “The People’s Place,” we will set a precedent in the Sierras. It’s time to “Stand Up for Washoe.”
Imgi Watah (Upper Truckee River)