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RV Park near Sunset Ranch

Finding an esthetically pleasing – and legal – spot to pitch a tent, or hook up the old family RV, can be a challenge during peak summer season in South Lake Tahoe. Even though 23 campgrounds and mobile home parks grace the yellow pages, the more popular and pretty ones are tightly booked in the summertime.

True, the busy season only lasts a few months – and it might be argued that South Shore camping needs are already adequately met, particularly since many campgrounds remain practically empty the rest of the year. But plans for the Upper Truckee Campground, in the works four years, are in the final stages of approval.

“Everything is moving along, the work is escalating right now because it’s getting closer to the time when we can start,” said Toni Lutes, project coordinator for Basin Strategies who is handling project approval for the property owner. “It’s 99 percent sure that construction will begin this spring or summer.”



The campground will be sandwiched between Lake Tahoe Airport and U.S. Highway 50, and touch the old Sunset Stables property, recently a joint purchase by the American Land Conservancy and California Tahoe Conservancy. Lutes said the campground proximity to a stream environment zone has not caused any problems so far.

“We haven’t had many objections, no real problems,” Lutes said. “It’s just been about paperwork and getting it all taken care of. It’s a big project which involves many agencies whose needs all need to be addressed.”




The 15-acre campground will contain 126 camp sites, said Daniel Uhlar, associate planner for El Dorado County. The sites will be divided into 58 recreational vehicle hook-up sites, 33 trailer spaces and 35 tent areas. Plans also include a conference meeting room, a small general store and a laundry facility.

“It’ll be a really nice thing to have, especially since it won’t be in the middle of town,” Lutes said. “I think all the campgrounds get really full, and we will have part of it open in the winter.”

As far as the California Tahoe Conservancy is concerned, the direct impacts of the campground have yet to be determined.

“We just closed escrow two months ago and we’re at the very beginning of our planning,” said Brian Wilkinson, resource management program coordinator at California Tahoe Conservancy. “We have to inventory and assess what we have. I think as we go through our planning process we’ll certainly look at adjacent land use – the campground and the airport – and work with our neighbors, so to speak.”

One of the considerations, Wilkinson said, is that 75 percent of the Conservancy land is classified as stream environment zone.

“We’re pretty constricted in the use of the property because the Upper Truckee runs through it,” he said. “But I don’t know that we have a problem with the RV park.”

Pending several minor project approvals such as a California Department of Transportation permit for a left-turn lane, ground-breaking for the campground is set for late spring, early summer, according to Lutes.


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