Forest Service offers tips for celebrating July Fourth at Lake Tahoe
Special to the Tribune
The Fourth of July holiday period is upon us and signifies the busiest time of year in the Lake Tahoe Basin. The USDA Forest Service Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit (LTBMU) asks residents and visitors to keep the following tips in mind to help everyone enjoy a safe and fun holiday.
To promote public safety, the annual alcohol ban will be in effect at the following locations:
Nevada Beach on July 4, from 6 a.m. until midnight.
Zephyr Cove Resort and Zephyr Shoals (former Dreyfus Estate) from June 30 through July 8. This prohibition has been extended for public health and safety and resource protection.
Chamber’s Landing Beach from July 1 through July 6.
To ensure compliance, these areas will be patrolled by law enforcement personnel from the Forest Service, state and local law enforcement, and private security staff.
Illegal campfires continue to be the leading cause of wildfires at Lake Tahoe. Wildfire prevention is everyone’s responsibility. Possession of fireworks of any kind, including firecrackers and sparklers, is illegal in the Lake Tahoe Basin. Campfires and charcoal fires are only allowed in metal fire rings or stand-up grills provided at developed recreation sites. Campfires, bonfires and portable charcoal grills are not permitted on National Forest beaches, in Desolation Wilderness, Meiss Country or along Genoa Peak Road and the Tahoe Rim Trail. Gas or propane stoves are allowed in all areas with a free, valid California Campfire Permit, available at any Forest Service office.
Expect extremely crowded conditions on local roads, highways, parking lots and around restrooms and portable toilets.
Because of the Tahoe Basin’s high elevation, expect intense sunlight during the day and cooler temperatures at night. Bring a hat, sunscreen, jacket, and carry a flashlight. Don’t forget to drink plenty of water throughout the day to stay hydrated.
Due to the influx of visitors, mobile device networks may be overwhelmed and mobile phones and other devices may not work in some areas. Develop an alternate plan to contact family and friends and have an emergency plan in place in case you cannot call for help.
Expect Lake Tahoe beaches to be much narrower than in previous years. Some beaches with vegetation or rocky shoreline may be inaccessible. Be courteous to others, arrive early and use this opportunity to explore new areas.
Consider public transportation as holiday traffic and road construction make for extremely crowded roads and parking areas. Walk, carpool, or bicycle to avoid limited parking in crowded recreation areas, heavy traffic and delays after the firework displays.
At developed recreation sites, such as Kiva, Tallac Historic Site, Taylor Creek Visitor Center, Echo Lake and Angora Lake resorts parking is allowed only in designated parking spaces inside the parking lots, not along the roadway. When parking, do not block road access or narrow lanes, which could delay an emergency response.
Where parking on the side of the road is allowed, be careful to not park on vegetation as this can cause damage to the environment and can spark a wildfire.
Day-use parking fees for July 4 at Pope, Baldwin, and Nevada beaches will be $30 and at Zephyr Cove Beach $40 to cover increased security and facility maintenance costs of the holiday.
Please respect the rules on where pets are allowed. Dogs are not allowed on National Forest designated swim beaches including Nevada, Pope, Baldwin, Meeks Bay, and William Kent.
Leashed pets are welcome at Kiva Picnic area from the Valhalla Boathouse/Pier to Tallac Point and Echo Lakes on the South Shore; Zephyr Shoals, Hidden and Chimney beaches on the East Shore; Coon Street Beach (at the boat launch) in King’s Beach; Kaspian and 64 acres beaches in Tahoe City. For more information on rules regarding pets, visit http://www.fs.usda.gov/goto/ltbmu/Dogs.
Be responsible for picking up and disposing of your trash in appropriate trash receptacles or take it home. Trash and debris left behind after festivities can be harmful and even fatal to wildlife. It represents a human health hazard, and degrades Lake Tahoe. Trash cans will become full, so plan ahead and keep in mind that Forest Service staff will be handing out trash bags at many of our recreation sites. Please use them and become part of the solution by packing out your own garbage.
Sadly, every year volunteers remove thousands of pounds of trash from our beautiful beaches after July 4. Consider volunteering for the League to Save Lake Tahoe’s Annual Keep Tahoe Red, White and Blue beach clean-ups from 8:30 a.m. to noon on Thursday, July 5. Clean-up sites include areas all around Lake Tahoe. To volunteer and learn more, visit keeptahoeblue.org/july5.