Tahoe Blue Crew soft launch highlighted by Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe Resort’s adoption of Chimney Beach | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Tahoe Blue Crew soft launch highlighted by Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe Resort’s adoption of Chimney Beach

Justin Scacco
jscacco@sierrasun.com

More than 100 volunteers across six locations around Lake Tahoe showed up last weekend to scour beaches and trails for bottles, cans, cigarette butts and anything else left behind during the summer months as part of the 10th annual Great Sierra River Cleanup.

Dozens of concerned volunteers showed up for the Saturday morning cleanup effort, which resulted in nearly 800 pounds of litter being removed from around Tahoe.

The cleanup day also ran in conjunction with the 33rd annual International Coastal Cleanup Day, and included Regan Beach, Kiva Beach, Trout Creek, Blackwood Canyon Meadow, Zephyr Cove and one of the lake’s less than reputable sites in terms of attracting trash and broken glass from partiers.

“Chimney Beach is heavily used because there is a monument people want to see; it’s a beautiful beach, and so, there’s traffic all through the summer,” said Marilee Movius, League to Save Lake Tahoe’s community engagement manager. “The Great Sierra River Cleanup is perfect timing because it’s the end of the summer season, before the snow starts falling, so we can ensure that we can get all the litter before storms start. That way, we’ll have less litter running into Lake Tahoe.”

‘Contributing to the community’

The cleanup day at Chimney Beach also marked the soft launch of the League to Save Lake Tahoe’s new Tahoe Blue Crew program, which will replace the league’s Adopt a Beach Tahoe program, founded in 2014.

“The League took over the management of the Adopt a Beach program last year, and over the course of the year, we have been redesigning and rebranding the program to be Tahoe Blue Crew,” said Movius. “What Tahoe Blue Crew is encompassing are groups that would like to adopt areas that are beaches and other places such as forest lots, or a parking lot near their office, or individuals that want to clean up near the area around their house.

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“We want it to be an opportunity to support cleanup efforts all throughout the basin, and be able to give the tools, materials, and support needed to effectively be able to go out there regularly to check on these locations and make sure the litter gets out of the environment.”

The Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe Resort, Spa and Casino is among the first to sign up to be part of Tahoe Blue Crew, and has adopted Chimney Beach as part of a year-long commitment to the program. Hyatt General Manager Michael Murphy was joined by a handful of employees at Chimney Beach to take part in the inaugural cleanup.

“We have a 44-year history here at the Hyatt, and because of our sheer location being here on the lake, it’s so important for us that we make sure we are contributing to the community as well,” said Murphy. “So we reached out to Keep Tahoe Blue and asked how to use the best resource we have — all of our team members, associates and guests. The ability to be able to adopt a beach is fantastic.”

Volunteers from the resort, Tahoe locals, and a trio of skiers from the Sugar Bowl Ski Team & Academy spent the morning scrambling up rocks, combing trails, and pulling trash from the lake itself in an effort to clear the area of everything from broken bottles and discarded dog waste bags to an abandoned sleeping bag. In total, the crew at Chimney Beach gathered roughly 80 pounds of trash in about three hours.

“Obviously this is a problem area,” Murphy said on keeping the Chimney Beach area clean. “We have over 330 associates year round, and in summer time we’ll go up to around 700 associates, so we have a lot of team members to be able to pull from. We’re looking forward to doing a lot more of these things.”

In total 796 pounds of trash were removed from Tahoe’s shoreline, according to the league, which included 1,011 cigarette butts, 934 food wrappers and 778 small plastic pieces.

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The Great Sierra River Cleanup, which spans waterways throughout the Sierra Nevada region, had 1,042 volunteers show up, according to organizers, resulting in 8.9 tons of trash removed, and 72 river miles cleaned across 49 sites.

The cleanup runs in conjunction with Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup, which has taken place for more than three decades. In 2017, the organization reported nearly 800,000 volunteers collectively removed more than 20 million pieces of trash from beaches and waterways around the world.

“Each individual’s actions make a difference,” Movius said during the Chimney Beach cleanup. “It’s important to pack out what we pack in. It’s important to choose reusables whenever possible. It takes all of us to get involved by coming to cleanup efforts, and by volunteering.”