Trash issues in Tahoe: Promoting personal responsibility in 2016 (opinion) |

Trash issues in Tahoe: Promoting personal responsibility in 2016 (opinion)

Caitlin Row
Tribune Managing Editor


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Visitors will always come to South Lake Tahoe for its beauty, variety of ski resorts, accessibility and affordability — especially around the holidays.

Christmas and New Year’s weeks were no exception. Our town was bustling with celebratory visitors, resulting in busy local businesses and increased sales-tax revenue. It also resulted in an excess of trash left behind — which is both an eyesore and bad for the environment.

The past few weeks, near Heavenly Mountain Resort, I saw food scattered over the ground, empty beer cans and bottles, broken sleds and bags of trash, along with forgotten hats and gloves crumpled in roadside slush.

Sierra Sun reported similar trashy findings on the North Shore. Kevin MacMillan, editor, expressed his own concerns in a recent column: “I think I speak for a lot of people when I say that Lake Tahoe and Truckee gladly welcome any and all visitors with open arms — but we would really appreciate you returning the favor by cleaning up after yourselves and being decent human beings when it comes to the common courtesies bestowed upon us as children.”

Let’s also recall a Tribune article from last summer, seeking volunteers to clean up after Fourth of July crowds on South Lake Tahoe’s beaches — what the League to Save Lake Tahoe calls “the largest beach cleanup of the year for Lake Tahoe.”

“After Tahoe’s famous Independence Day celebrations, the lake’s beaches are thrashed with trash, which can hurt wildlife and lake clarity,” League officials told the Tribune last June. “Many beaches have land managers who start early to remove trash after the festivities, but they still appreciate volunteer help, as many beaches have too much to manage.”

This shows a pattern of abuse — crowds come and personal responsibility goes out the window.

Let’s all do our part — out of respect for wildlife, especially bears, and for Lake Tahoe (before it’s loved to death). If you see trash, please pick it up. And if you have the opportunity to educate visitors about why it’s important to dispose of trash securely and properly, please take it.

Let’s make our home a better place — it’s why we live here.

Caitlin Row is managing editor of Tahoe Daily Tribune. She can be reached at 530-542-8006 or Find her on Twitter — @CrowTahoe. Tahoe Daily Tribune prints Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Its website — — is updated daily. Find us on social media, too —,, and

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