From News Release...
VISIT TRUCKEE-TAHOE LAUNCHES “SUSTAINABLE TRUCKEE” INITIATIVE
Three new summer stewardship pilot programs are now underway; Destination Stewardship Plan in development
TRUCKEE, Calif. (July 1, 2021) - Visit Truckee-Tahoe announced today it has launched “Sustainable Truckee,” an initiative with three summer stewardship pilot programs that address the challenges of high use, summer visitation impacts in Truckee, Donner Summit and nearby unincorporated Nevada County areas. The programs are backed with $30,000 in funding, with $25,000 in additional funding committed by local and regional partners: Truckee Fire Protection District, Nevada County, Truckee Donner Land Trust, Truckee Tahoe Airport District and Town of Truckee. In addition, the USFS incorporated stationed trail hosts into their trailhead work plan for Sawtooth/06.
“Historically, we’ve worked hard to put Truckee on the national radar of travelers seeking respite in the mountains and with Lake Tahoe just 20 minutes away, our goal has been to help drive awareness of Truckee’s unique character, cuisine and patronage of local businesses,” said Visit Truckee-Tahoe CEO Colleen Dalton. “Today, instead of ‘selling’ Truckee to those who might visit, our efforts are focused on helping to educate and attract visitors who care about responsible, sustainable travel in an effort to address some of the negative impacts that have been associated with increased visitation—traffic, trash, environmental and wildlife impacts, and more.”
The Sustainable Truckee initiative is one component of a Destination Stewardship Plan (DSP) being developed by the organization to identify and define sustainability priorities for Truckee’s year-round, part-time residents and visitors. The plan will address efforts including, but not limited to, environmental and resource conservation, community character and infrastructure, economic vitality, social and cultural programs and the Town of Truckee’s efforts that more broadly address short to long range quality of life priorities.
With the plan’s expected completion in spring 2022, Visit Truckee-Tahoe’s longer term plan is to pursue recognition as a Sustainable Destination, a certification that would make Truckee only the fourth sustainable mountain resort destination in the United States according to the Mountain IDEAL standard as accredited by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council. A DSP is one of 44 requirements to be held accountable as a true, sustainable destination - ranging from housing to cultural/arts and public transit.
“Achieving this recognition will demonstrate and communicate to the world Truckee’s commitment to balancing tourism, community and sustainability to protect what makes our mountain town special,” continued Dalton.
This summer, the Sustainable Truckee initiative brings together local agencies, districts, government and nonprofits in order to collaborate on program development and execution. Objectives of the initiative’s pilot programs now underway include responsible visitor and resident behavior through wildfire danger education, trash prevention measures and other public safety messaging including responsible recreation training - all while cultivating a friendly, positive Truckee experience.
The first pilot program “Truckee Trail Host Ambassadors” connects outdoor recreation visitors and local residents with the region’s vast public lands through education, safety, and engagement. Trail Hosts include two stationed at Sawtooth 06 (24/7) and Jackass Ridge at Highway 89, plus two roving Hosts wearing Take Care Tahoe uniforms. Developed in partnership with the Truckee Trails Foundation (TTF), Truckee Trail Hosts are employed and managed by TTF, working primarily Thursday-Monday (Memorial Day - Labor Day) targeting 18 high-use trail locations as far out as Prosser and up to Donner Summit. Trail Host communication is focused on four Sustainable Truckee communication pillars: Welcoming/friendly, Safety/Advisory, Education/Training, and Engaging/Rewarding. Trail Hosts collect data on types of user interactions and trail condition observations using the Citizen Science App that will be used to mitigate immediate environmental impacts and to analyze long-term trail infrastructure improvements. “Truckee’s most valuable resource is the Tahoe National Forest, and properly built trails for all ages and abilities ensures Truckee is inclusive and welcomes everyone,” said Sky Allsop, one of the initial members of Truckee Dirt Union and member of Visit Truckee-Tahoe Board of Directors. “Trail Hosts help educate all users, especially first-timers and newcomers, on how to recreate responsibly including absolutely no fires. Hosts also keep an eagle eye out for illegal campfires and will call 911 immediately.”
Visitors have been responding well to the Trail Hosts according to Allison Pedley, executive director of the Truckee Trails Foundation, who is managing the team, with one person sharing thanks for an enthusiastic “Trail Angel”: “Huge shout out to Kim who was on the PCT on Sunday bringing the sunshine to all the hikers!”
Truckee Trail Hosts join multiple grassroots organizations around the lake, totaling upward of 50 ambassadors from North to South Lake Tahoe. The region wide effort was coordinated by Take Care Tahoe.
The second Sustainable Truckee program is Truckee Trailhead Signs. Intercepting trail users with friendly, English and Spanish signs advising “NO FIRES, EXTREME FIRE DANGER” and “Know Before You Go” may be the most promising wildfire mitigation strategy. Signs are located at 18 trailheads ranging from Prosser Dam to Alder Creek/Carpenter Valley Emigrant Trail, to Johnson Canyon, Donner Summit and the Pacific Crest Trailhead and I-80 Rest Stop. Funding partner Truckee Fire Protection District also contributed $5,000 to the Hosts and Signage program costs, in addition to training on how to handle smoldering fire situations. Advisory partners regarding signage locations included USFS, Truckee Trails Foundation, Placer County, Nevada County, Truckee Donner Land Trust and the Donner Summit Association.
The third program, Sustainable Truckee - Outdoor Recreation Collaborative (STORC) was inspired by Nevada County’s new Supervisor Hardy Bullock and the CCC (Champion, Catalyze, Convene) round table he began in May, to address concerns about the summer ahead. With funding provided by the Truckee Donner Land Trust, Truckee Airport District, Town of Truckee and Nevada County, the CCC convenes elected officials, CEO’s, GM’s and other high-level Truckee leadership to ensure they are informed about the efforts of all agencies regarding peak period mitigation strategies in and near Truckee.