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New map helps guide boaters

Susan Wood

A Lake Tahoe water trail may be as tough to map out as it is to navigate – unless there’s help along the way.

The big idea honored in 2003 at the SMG tourism conference may turn into less of a big adventure for kayakers and canoers and smaller sailboats doing the research of where to stay and what to see while navigating the lake.

The Lake Tahoe Water Trail map, a grass roots project of action group Tahoe Tomorrow, has made it to the printer and will hit retail shops soon. At least 4,000 folded waterproof maps and 500 in poster format will be printed on the first run and distributed to marinas, outfitters and watersport shops – a venture that through sponsorships and volunteers will cost short of $10,000. Agencies and businesses ranging from the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency to Zephyr Cove Resort have kicked in for the map.

“I think it’s an awesome idea,” Lakeview Sports co-owner Carl Barrett said.

Barrett, a 25-year Tahoe resident, said he’s fielded many requests from kayak renters asking for points of interest. The map will include historical sights, land trails, public beaches, scenic places and lodging establishments in about 200 entries. Emergency contacts will also be listed. It will sell for $8.95.

Jeri Johnson of Kayak Tahoe advocates the idea, but she’d also like to have a campground developed on the East Shore. While on the West Shore, the one boat-in campground on the lake is located in Emerald Bay. The state parks department issues reservations for the campsites.

The idea of a 72-mile path on water may seem odd to some, but the concept is much needed for those trying to find a place to stay, eat or experience on a lake vacation.

“People have been doing this for years. But (the map) just makes it easier to plan a multi-day trip,” said the California Tahoe Conservancy’s project analyst Bob Kingman, whose original idea won a Big Idea award from the South Shore’s Strategic Marketing Group during its annual tourism conference. Kingman is an avid kayaker.

The idea got a boost from a handful of people on a Tahoe Tomorrow committee, and Kingman did some research that took him as far as the Florida Everglades. Closer to home, a 230-mile water trail around the San Francisco Bay is being created.

“This is definitely an important recreational opportunity,” said Coleen Shade, who served on the water trail committee alongside Kingman.

Shade, who works for the TRPA, cited the regulatory agency’s recreational threshold as one of nine critical to Tahoe mission.

Tahoe residents may know where to go, but visitors may not have a clue how to navigate the lake.

“If you’re planning a safe trip, you need to know these services. There’s a lot of planning that goes into these trips,” Shade said.

A touring kayaker would need to plan accordingly as there’s a 15-mile stretch with no place to stay between Incline Village and Zephyr Cove. Winds whipping up in the afternoon on Lake Tahoe can be brutal for someone kayaking or sailing, making a 15-mile jaunt seem like 30.

Information: http://www.laketahoewatertrail.org


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