Program: Tahoe a global sustainable destination | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Program: Tahoe a global sustainable destination

The Sustainable Destinations Top 100 program recently recognized Lake Tahoe as a global sustainable destination during a tourism trade show in Berlin, Germany.

In its fifth year, the Sustainable Destinations Top 100 program showcases sustainable tourism stories and best practices of local and regional destinations around the world, according to a press release. The goal of the program is to make tourist destinations around the globe more sustainable, responsible, and more attractive from a visitor experience point of view.

Being selected as a destination in the Top 100 does not mean it is fully sustainable. Rather, it means the location is making strides and demonstrating progress.

As part of the 2019 Top 100 awards, officials selected Lake Tahoe as a top destination and as second in the “Best in Nature” category, finishing behind the Dutch Quality Coast Delta in the Netherlands.

Lake Tahoe is the second deepest lake in the U.S. and one of the clearest large Alpine lakes in the world. Although many of the its watersheds and aquatic habitats were degraded as a result of past human activities, a partnership of federal, state, and local agencies, private interests, scientists and the Washoe Tribe are collaborating to protect and improve the extraordinary natural and recreational resources of the Lake Tahoe Basin.

“This award highlights the successes of the Environmental Improvement Program and epic collaboration at Lake Tahoe over the last 20 years,” Joanne Marchetta, executive director for the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, said in the press release. “Our commitment to preserving the environment at Lake Tahoe can be a shining example for other destinations around the globe.”

Over the past 20 years, partners have worked to treat 74,000 acres of land to reduce fire threats, restore lake clarity and 1,700 acres of wetlands, enhanced fish and wildlife habitat, and added 3,195 feet of public shoreline for recreation at Lake Tahoe.

“As a tourism agency, we continue to reinforce messaging on car-less vacations, educational programs, beach clean-ups and trail building opportunities along with best practices to become stewards of the lake,” Carol Chaplin, president and CEO of the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority, said in the release.

“Environmental stewardship and tourism sustainability efforts are at the core of our efforts,” said Liz Bowling, communications director of the North Lake Tahoe Resort Association. “We take every opportunity to educate visitors and locals alike on maintaining the well-being of our majestic Lake Tahoe.”

Green Destinations, a global nonprofit, leads the Top 100 program. They head a global partnership of tourist destinations, private companies, and academic institutions to promote sustainable tourism around the globe. Past winners of the Top 100 program include the mountain communities of Vail, Colorado and Jackson Hole, Wyoming.