Thunderbird Lodge to present case to TRPA | TahoeDailyTribune.com
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Thunderbird Lodge to present case to TRPA

The Governing Board of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency is scheduled to hear a presentation by the head of the Thunderbird Lodge Preservation Society Wednesday regarding its plans to open the historical site to the public.

Phil Caterino, executive director of the Preservation Society, will outline his organization’s short- and long-term plans for the Thunderbird Lodge, the duration of public visits to the site, the number of people the site can accommodate, and any other issues which need to be addressed before a special permit allowing public access can be granted.

While no action is requested by the Governing Board, its members will discuss the merits of the presentation.



The Thunderbird Lodge was built in 1936 by Californian George Whittell Jr. and includes multiple buildings and structures as well as extensive landscaping. The lodge was designed by Nevada’s pre-eminent architect, Frederic DeLongchamps.

The lodge was once the largest privately held parcel on the shore of Lake Tahoe, comprising 140 acres south of Sand Harbor. The 6-acre historic district is surrounded by more than 40,000 acres of U.S. Forest Service and Nevada State Parks land, along a mile of lake frontage.



Millions of dollars have been spent in restoring the Thunderbird Lodge with the aim of making it accessible to the public through conferencing, events, docent-led tours and educational as well as environmental programs. However, pending approval by the TRPA, it remains closed to the public.

In June, the Society’s case was strengthened when TRPA’s governing board voted to allow cultural activities in the East Shore plan area, currently a residential area that includes the Lodge. The plan change area limits attendance to 100 people per event, and requires shuttle buses and watercraft for public access to the site.

Caterino couldn’t be reached for comments on his Wednesday presentation before the board. However, in the past he has said that if approved, the Thunderbird Lodge Preservation Society could begin giving public tours in the winter.


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