Kinda blue about Blue Lakes Road situation
I have been going to Blue Lakes in Alpine County for 27 years. It was the first area I visited when I first moved to the Lake Tahoe Basin. I so love the area and still to this day it is my first pick to go to when the snow thaws.
On July 4 I read that Blue Lakes Road was closed at the fourth gate 7.4 miles in from Highway 88, which is Charity Valley. Back in 2003 the road was paved from the fourth gate all the way to the Lower Blue Lake. And I mean this road is the best road that surrounds the whole entire South Lake Tahoe region. The company that made the way and paved this road should get high recognition. To this day there is not a pot hole to be found all the way up.
My wife and I decided to go any way to visit the lower lake and walk in from that point, which is just under 4 miles to the lower lake of Blue Lakes. Within the first 10 minutes of walking up this snow-free, nice paved road we had to move quickly to the right due to a car that came down. Then some time late another came up behind us. I notice four-wheel drive tracts on a dirt road below us with tracts right through the little snow drift.
As we were walking I was thinking there is something wrong here. People have a key and private access to the lower lake and there is no snow anywhere. When we arrived at the Lower Lake about an hour and half later, I noticed a camper with bikes and of course the home owners were there. Didn’t really let it bother me until on the way back. While we were there we saw three bald eagles and one flew in a tree about 50 yards from us, and the eagle watched and stared as I fished.
We stayed in a nice shaded spot for about four hours and then decided to walk back due to the long way ahead. We had to walk on a dry paved road closure for no apparent reason other than control. On the way back just leaving the Lower Lake we saw one of the grounds keeper. I asked “Is this county road closed or open?” And she quickly replied “CLOSED.”
I said, “Why? There is no snow anywhere in sight except up high.“ Then she replied, “There is much blocking the dirt road to the upper lake.”
Too bad I didn’t have enough energy to walk the extra 2 miles to the upper lake to prove her wrong. I know that road to the upper lake will be muddy and in one little area maybe some snow, but is this the main reason to close the entire basin?
Absolutely not! Before the Blue Lakes Road was paved the Forest Service would open the fourth gate once the snow had melted and you could see the gate and at least a couple of miles of dry ground ahead. You entered at your own risk. Four-by-four vehicles only and if there was a snow drift you turned back and checked back the next week. And even in the heart of summer the road was extremely bad with a wash board feel and look about it — meaning it would practically beat up your four-wheel drive, but it was worth it. Nobody up there, no care takers, just pure magnificent beauty and freedom. And unbelievable cutthroat trout fishing. Even the private land owners up there could not get to use the area and the lake until the road was clear.
Blue Lake Road is a public road which means if you let one car through then all should be able to go through. I called Alpine County and asked why is the lake closed and got the answer “bad snow year.” I let them know “you are wrong,” there’s no snow up there.
I have seen 325 percent snows back 20 years ago and this was not a factor. I asked, why don’t you install a gate at the upper end where the county feels they don’t want anybody to get stuck? And the county replied “we are trying.” What this is telling me is that there is special interest playing a part in this now. I knew when the road was paved back in 2003 that it was the end of Blue Lakes like I knew it. Now the special interests have control and this is why I decided to write.