Most South Shore recreation sites open
Whether you’re looking to bask in the sands of Pope Beach or wander the trails around Angora Lookout, most of the South Shore’s recreation sites should be fully open by this weekend.
But before they can open, many of the area’s beaches, campgrounds, hiking trails and roads need maintenance.
“The foremost thing is we want to make sure they’re safe,” said U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman Lisa Herron.
The Forest Service has had about a dozen people working on its recreation sites, cutting hazardous trees, fixing plumbing, picking up garbage and, in general, tidying up before the public swarms the area during the warm season. Though many of the roads to beaches like Kiva and Baldwin have opened, facilities such as the bathrooms have not. Most will be ready today, Herron said.
“As you can imagine, it takes a while to get around to all these places,” she said.
All of the Forest Service-operated campgrounds around the lake opened earlier this month. Camp Richardson Campground, operated by a concessionaire, won’t open until June 17.
California State Parks has had some trouble getting their parks open. Budget woes and a lag in position transfers has the agency understaffed by more than a quarter of its usual force.
“The problem we’re having is a shortage of staff,” said district superintendent Marilyn Linkem.
The lack of staff has pushed back the opening of D.L. Bliss State Park to June 15.
“If we can, we’ll open it sooner,” Linkem said.
Eagle Point Campground, a California State Park near Emerald Bay, won’t open at all this year due to construction and maintenance at the site.
“With what we have open right now, there’s plenty of camping,” Linkem added.
Conditions in the backcountry are mixed. Many of the south-facing and east-facing trails have cleared, but deeper into Desolation Wilderness deep snow still exists. Many of the lakes in the area are still partially or fully frozen.
“A lot of the north aspects and the shaded areas still have a lot of snow,” said Devin Hiemstra, who works the front desk at the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit. “The conditions are very varied right now. Some spots are softer and other are harder.”
The Forest Service is warning people to be careful around snow-covered creeks and rivers as well as frozen lakes, Hiemstra said.
South Lake Tahoe hiker Wes Minton was able to summit Mt. Tallac without much trouble Tuesday, he said.
“The trail was mostly clear,” Minton said. “There were only a few patches of snow.”