More than 6 tons of trash collected at Spooner sled hill |

More than 6 tons of trash collected at Spooner sled hill

Staff Report
About 13,000 pounds of garbage was collected this winter and spring at Spooner sled hill. Bill Rozak / Tahoe Daily Tribune

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — More than six tons of trash was removed from the sled hill at Spooner Junction this year and more than 700 pounds was collected recently during an Earth Week event at Lake Tahoe.

During the winter and early spring, the unofficial snow-play at the junction of Nevada State Route 28 and U.S. Highway 50 on Tahoe’s East Shore is trashed every winter and spring. Thousands of pounds of broken sleds, food trash, plastic tags from new winter clothes, and human waste are left behind every season. Volunteers help keep the litter in check, as the site lacks trash facilities or restrooms.

The League to Save Lake Tahoe hosted an Earth Week 3-day cleanup event at Heavenly Village and Spooner sled hill. Provided

“This winter, we removed 13,000 pounds of litter from the Spooner sled hill,” said Katie Sheehan, executive director for Clean Tahoe, a South Tahoe nonprofit dedicated to improving the environment through proper litter management. “Volunteer cleanup efforts like this – and simply cleaning up after yourself – are crucial to protecting Tahoe’s beauty.”

Ninety-six volunteers removed more than 700 pounds of trash that had been buried under snow until the recent spring melt from Heavenly Village and the litter-plagued sled area from Thursday through Saturday, April 22-24.

While Earth Week is a fitting occasion to combat pollution in Tahoe, litter is a year-round problem that requires constant action to avoid harm to wildlife, the lake’s delicate ecology and the basin’s scenic beauty, said the League to Save Tahoe in a press release.

“It might be Friday afternoon, but it doesn’t matter what day of the week it is, I’m out here taking care of the place I love most,” said Geoff Miller, a cleanup volunteer and leader of one of The League’s Tahoe Blue Crews. “I don’t mind devoting my time and energy to bringing this place back to how beautiful it is naturally.”

Volunteers clean trash from the Spooner sled hill area near Incline Village. Provided

The Earth Day cleanup at Heavenly Village was organized by the League to Save Lake Tahoe, Clean Tahoe, and South Tahoe Refuse in partnership with Azul Latin Kitchen, Base Camp Pizza Co., Marriott’s Timber Lodge and Grand Residence Club Lake Tahoe, and Ten Crows BBQ.

A separate Earth Day cleanup was hosted on Tahoe’s North Shore by the Incline Village General Improvement District. The League and Clean Tahoe hosted back-to-back cleanups at the Spooner site on April 23 and 24.

In addition to the cleanups, Tahoe visitors, longtime locals and new residents took part in a week-long series of activities to ring in Earth Week. Participants learned that despite Tahoe’s beauty, the lake is threatened by trash, traffic, invasive species and climate change.

“We call it being a Tahoe Blue Gooder. If you see trash, pick it up. Try to ride your bike or walk instead of driving. Ditch those single-use plastics and choose reusables instead,” said Kat Walton, community engagement associate for The League. “Whether you have five minutes or five hours, everyone can make a difference and Keep Tahoe Blue.”

Everyone is encouraged to use the Citizen Science Tahoe app, developed by UC Davis, which offers a range of self-paced tools to protect the lake while enjoying what it has to offer.

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