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Guest view: Ask yourself, what can you do for the lake

Don Edwards

As I attend Tahoe Regional Planning Agency meetings for public input related to how we can save the clarity and beauty of Lake Tahoe, I am struck by the attitude of most of the people who speak during the public comment time. It seems that most of them start their presentation by saying how much they love the Lake and how they think the clarity and beauty should be preserved. They then say how they should be allowed to build a pier, plant another buoy, take boats into Emerald Bay every day of the week, etc., etc., etc.

To me, what they are really saying is, “I think the clarity and beauty should be preserved so that we all can enjoy it, but I want someone else to do it. I don’t want to be inconvenienced in any way, I don’t want to sacrifice even if that’s what it will take to save the lake.” That is a very selfish attitude, and not one that will save the lake.

Until we agree that we all have to sacrifice to save the lake, we will not save it. All people must realize that if they get special consideration, then how do you not give special consideration to someone else, whether it’s now or 10 or 20 years down the line? When you think about it, aren’t we really saving the lake for future generations? Do we really care about saving it for our “kids,” or is our personal convenience at this time or our money- making more important?



It would be wonderful to go to one of these meetings and hear someone stand up and address the TRPA and say that they have changed their mind about asking for something that they had wanted, because there is a chance it may have a negative influence on the lake.

Even if there is just a chance, do we want to risk it for our personal pleasure, convenience, or money? How much easier the TRPA’s job would be.



We live in one of the most beautiful places on this earth. Looking at this clear, beautiful lake with its constantly changing colors and the surrounding mountains and trees is truly a blessing. Can you see your children sitting around 20, 30 or 40 years from now looking out at an ugly, black Lake Tahoe? It can happen and has in many other places.

Saving this lake is problematic at best, and therefore we need to do everything possible toward that end. If we really care, we need to sacrifice for the future. Action speaks louder than words. To paraphrase President Kennedy, “Ask not what the lake can do for you, but what you can do for the lake.”

All of us must work together to put a moratorium on anything that has any chance of harming the beauty and clarity of this lake. We need a new attitude. It’s essential that we all be a part of this effort.

– Don Edwards is a retired educator and former motel owner who has followed the TRPA shorezone issue closely. The Sierra Club member lives in Cave Rock.


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