‘Manners in the mountains’: Tahoe ambassador program expands

Ashleigh Goodwin /
Park rangers/stewards attend a city meeting at Regan Beach with residents.
Ashleigh Goodwin/Tahoe Daily Tribune

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — The Sierra Nevada Alliance started a new program last year in the Tahoe Basin — Tahoe Ambassadors — who have started a second year of inspiring community members and visitors to recreate responsibly while enjoying parks, trails and beaches. 

An ambassador is an authorized representative or messenger according to Merriam-Webster’s dictionary and Tahoe has many unofficial ambassadors bred from the love for the land and Sierra Nevada Alliance has spearheaded an explosion of Take Care Tahoe messaging. 

Thanks to the funding received from partners such as The Tahoe Fund, North Lake Tahoe Resort Association, Lake Tahoe Visitor’s Authority, and others the program was expanded this year. 

“This program creates multiple pathways to different departments, and types of careers,” Sierra Nevada Alliance Executive Director Jenny Hatch said. “Based on what I saw last year, I saw that we needed to expand the program around the lake so this year the locations are Taylor Creek Tallac Historic Site, Kiva Beach, Vikingsholm, Tahoe City Commons, 64 Acre, Kings Beach, Explore Tahoe and East Shore beach.” 

Staffing troubles within the basin are, in part, to blame for the program not being in more locations but Hatch hopes to keep expanding the program and cultivate environmental leaders in the Tahoe and Sierra. 

The park ranger program is a spin-off of the program that also hires high school and college students to be ambassadors of Lake Tahoe in city parks, some of the places the Sierra Nevada Alliance program does not cover. Tahoe Park Rangers and Stewards are paired with one another to assist in teaching “manners in the mountains” as Hatch calls it.

The spin off program launched the weekend of July Fourth and has had an active summer in training on city codes, best practices for educating the public and when to get law enforcement involved. 

Each steward and ranger is trained on, and provided with a quick reference guide for, city ordinances. Lakeview Commons and Regan Beach are two examples of where you can find the ambassador duos. 

During the recent city council meeting the city of South Lake Tahoe renewed their agreement with Lake Tahoe Unified School District, Sierra Nevada Alliance, and Lake Tahoe Community College for another year of the student ambassador park ranger program. 

Both programs hire students to patrol local parks and beaches to inform visitors of best practices in hopes of sustaining the areas for generations to come. 

The agreement states that the city will be responsible for hiring, training, and managing the park ranger program for the next two summers.

Hopes for next year are to offer more coordinated trainings which allows for consistent messaging through the basin. The trainings will be intended for all park stewards, rangers, and ambassadors no matter the affiliation. 

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