Letter to the editor- Hey, Claire, go take a hike | TahoeDailyTribune.com
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Letter to the editor- Hey, Claire, go take a hike

To the editor- Well Claire, you’ve begun to answer my question as to why the South Lake

Tahoe City Council consistently votes against the Lake Tahoe environment.

(See your opinion piece for Thursday, June 28, 2001 in the Tahoe Daily



Tribune.) In it you state that there is no “scientific proof” that

reconverting a straightened river back to a meandering river will reduce



erosion and thus improve Lake Tahoe’s clarity. Just a thought, but you know,

there is no “scientific proof” of a God either, I hope that doesn’t stop you

from praying.

May I make a suggestion? Go take a hike. When (and if) you do, I’d like you

to notice something called “switchback trails”.

A “switchback trail” is a trail that meanders up a mountain. You may think

that the reason switchback trails were made was for people who have a hard

time walking straight up a mountain, and maybe to some degree that is true.

Society should be responsive to people who are less physically fit, but the

reason that switchback trails are so good is that they cause less erosion.

Let me explain to you how.

I don’t know how much “scientific proof” you need to understand this

concept but if you go on that hike please notice places where impatient

people have decided to take a shortcut straight up the mountain, crushing

vegetation as they do. Notice how rain and runoff wash away the soil quicker

on these shortcuts. Now here’s something you might not know either. Lake

Tahoe is a “basin”. That means it is like a sink. Everything flows downhill.

The cause of this is “gravity”. (“Gravity” is something that is used by

scientists to explain why things fall, but there isn’t any “scientific

proof” as to how it works. I hope you don’t doubt it’s veracity and jump

from any places that are too high, you could injure yourself or anyone else

that might be under you.)

You may have heard the expression; “the shortest distance between two

points is a straight line”. I hope I don’t have to explain to you what that

means. I wish I could draw you a picture. The “geomorphologist” at the June

19th city council meeting had a beautiful drawing of what they wanted to do.

It showed a straight line where Trout Creek is now and then a beautiful

curvy line (if you happen to like curves) where they wanted to “move” the

creek. The straight line of how the creek is now represents the “shortest

distance”. You can translate shorter to quicker. I know this isn’t always

the case but in this case I think we could be safe to say it is true. If you

represent the start of Trout creek as point “A” and Lake Tahoe as point “B”,

you could say an object starting at point “A” of the straight Trout Creek

would reach point “B” quicker than if it followed the curvy path of the new

Trout Creek. I suppose if you didn’t care about Lake Tahoe’s environment you

could argue that point but then there are still

When something travels quicker, it also travels faster and with more force.

There is less resistance to it and it is able to carry with it things that

might not have moved if not hit with such force. (Which makes me think of

another “scientific” word, friction as well as inertia and momentum. But all

this “science” is getting tedious.) This is what causes erosion.

Which brings me to your “puddles” comment. It takes common sense and vision

to understand this but I’ll try and explain. The more “puddles” there are

between point “A” and point “B” the more chance there is for sediment to be

removed from water before it reaches point “B” (Lake Tahoe).

Here’s a thought. You probably drive a car and you probably buy new tires

for that car and new brake shoes also as the old ones wear down. Did you

ever wonder where the rubber and asbestos go that are worn away as you drive

around? No to mention the oil and gas pollutants. You mention air pollution

as part of the cause of the decline in Lake Tahoe’s clarity? Do you have any

solutions? Or will you just wait for someone to offer one and then shoot it

down as “unscientific”? Those “puddles” just might keep that (for lack of a

better word) crap out of Lake Tahoe’s water. But that would affect you only

if you liked swimming in it. For some people the Lake is just too cold.

You ask for “proof” that this project will do some good. All I can say is

that if the project gets completed it will be an attempt at removing one of

the possible causes of Lake Tahoe’s decline in clarity. It will be an

attempt at doing some good. But people like you and the city council who are

naysayers when it comes to trying to save Lake Tahoe from declining clarity

are really the problem, not just the Edgewood Golf Course’s fertilizer. (Or

the Tahoe Keys.)

Peter Van Peborgh

South Lake Tahoe


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