TRPA OKs train at Ponderosa |

TRPA OKs train at Ponderosa

Lake Tahoe’s bistate regulatory board Wednesday endorsed plans for the Ponderosa Ranch to build a sight-seeing funicular railway where The Great Tramline of Tahoe once carried large amounts of lumber nearly a quarter mile up a steep mountain slope.

The funicular railway – a tramway-like replica of the historic piece of machinery – is supposed to provide several references to history as well as a high-elevation view of Tahoe’s north shore.

“We see this as an opportunity to provide a historical interpretation, a recreational opportunity and an educational opportunity,” said Gary Midkiff, a representative of Ponderosa Ranch.

The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency Wednesday approved the project.

Construction likely will start next spring, with hopes of finishing it by the end of 2000.

The Great Tramline of Tahoe, or Great Incline of the Sierra Nevada, is widely considered as one of the great engineering accomplishments of the Comstock mining period. A tree-vacant path still marks its area of ascent, and the new tramway would use that.

A trail is supposed to allow visitors to walk to a reconstructed section of the historic flume. As part of the project, Ponderosa Ranch also is supposed to better landscape the area, helping Tahoe’s water quality and the scenery at the ranch.

Alice Baldrica, a member of the Nevada State Historic Preservation Office who sat in for one of the TRPA board members Wednesday, said the project was a good opportunity to educate the public about the historic uses of the area.

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