Vanity plates improve Tahoe’s appearance |

Vanity plates improve Tahoe’s appearance

Emily Aughinbaugh

Nevada motorists continue to show their support for Lake Tahoe into 2001.

The Lake Tahoe License Plate program has generated $1 million since its inception in 1998, and Nevada Division of State Lands officials seem confident about the program’s future.

“I thought sales might have decreased by now, but they’re staying pretty stable,” said Jim Lawrence, spokesman for the Nevada State Lands. “That shows people really are interested in Tahoe.”

Lawrence said 20,000 people have purchased the plates, some from as far away as Las Vegas.

Proceeds from the program go to fund grants that preserve and restore Lake Tahoe.

Nevada State Lands has given out 13 grants totaling more than $700,000 for projects and programs ranging from the preservation and enhancement of water and scenic quality to the protection of sensitive species.

Three of the grants have been awarded to the Nevada Division of State Parks for work at Spooner Lake Day Use Area, Spooner Summit and Sand Harbor.

Because of the more than 100,000 people who visit Spooner Lake annually, Nevada State Parks will use the money for erosion control and water quality improvements in the park.

Improvements at Spooner Summit include a trailhead and parking area to access the Tahoe Rim Trail. Sand Harbor improvements include replacing the chain link fence along Highway 28 with a wrought iron one to reduce erosion.

A grant was also awarded to the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency to develop a public outreach program to educate residents and visitors about sensitive shorezone species, like the Tahoe Yellowcress. The license program will also fund a conservation plan to protect the Yellowcress.

Pam Drum, TRPA Public Affairs Coordinator, said the license plate program was a great idea to get people involved in protecting and enhancing the basin’s environment.

“It’s been successful beyond our wildest dreams,” Drum said. “We are just so pleased the program has caught on. People are wearing their feelings for Lake Tahoe on their sleeves when they put (the plate) on their cars.”

The Lake Tahoe license plate has been available in California since 1997.

More than 22,000 California plates have been registered and renewed since then, generating $2.5 million for environmental restoration.

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