INTERAGENCY NEWS RELEASE
LAKE TAHOE, Nev./Calif. – The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA) Governing Board yesterday approved the USDA Forest Service Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit (LTBMU) Chimney Beach Trailhead parking improvement project on Lake Tahoe’s East Shore. The project will help improve safety, reduce roadside parking, and enhance recreation in the popular State Route 28 corridor, the agencies said today.
The LTBMU project will expand the existing 21-space parking area to 130 spaces while partner agencies remove an equivalent amount of roadside and shoulder parking in the area, which will improve roadway safety, emergency response, recreation access, improve scenic quality in the National Scenic Byway, and reduce soil damage and erosion. It is estimated that more than 70 percent of fine sediment harming Lake Tahoe’s clarity is coming from roadways and urban upland areas.
Construction is expected to last through October 2023 with some construction activities to be completed early next summer. Although the parking lot will be closed, trails will remain open during construction.
“Improving safety and parking along the lake’s East Shore corridor is a high priority in our regional transportation plans,” TRPA Executive Director Julie Regan said. “The Chimney Beach parking lot is an integral component to remove parking off the road, reduce congestion, and provide residents and visitors safe access to public lands and the lake.”
The project is part of both the LTBMU’s SR-28 Shared Use Path, Parking, Safety, and Environmental Improvements Project and the Nevada State Route 28 Corridor Management Plan. The larger vision for the corridor includes additional parking management and technology, continuation of the East Shore Trail to Spooner Summit, more frequent transit and additional transit stops, and construction of a mobility hub at Spooner Summit.
“The East Shore contains some of the most scenic landscapes in the Lake Tahoe Basin and many popular remote recreation destinations,” said LTBMU Forest Supervisor, Erick Walker “These parking areas are generally at or above capacity during the summer season and parking overflows onto the highway shoulder. The project will address potential conflicts between pedestrians and vehicle traffic as well as the potential hindering of the movement of emergency vehicles.”
The upgraded parking area will be constructed with water quality Best Management Practices, or BMPs, to treat stormwater and runoff before it leaves the site as well as improved trash containment. Further improvements to the trailhead will include restrooms, transit pullouts, a pedestrian crossing, and infrastructure to support a future parking management system.
Thirteen partner organizations are involved in implementing the Nevada SR-28 Corridor Management Plan. Funding has been committed through federal and state sources as well as contributions from the Tahoe Fund, a nonprofit which has committed up to $3 million in private donations to projects in the corridor. Earlier improvements including the first section of the East Shore Trail from Incline Village to Sand Harbor Nevada State Park, which included successful removal of roadside parking in the corridor.
“These improvements are not just about providing safer and more accessible parking options,” Tahoe Transportation District Executive Director Carl Hasty said. “They are also laying the groundwork for a future parking management system. With a system in place, we can further enhance safety and reduce roadside parking around the Lake Tahoe Basin, making outdoor recreation more sustainable for everyone.”
The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency leads the cooperative effort to preserve, restore, and enhance the unique natural and human environment of the Lake Tahoe Region, while improving local communities, and people’s interactions with our irreplaceable environment.
The mission of the U.S. Forest Service, part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is to sustain the health, diversity and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The agency manages 193 million acres of public land, provides assistance to state and private landowners, and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world. Public lands the Forest Service manages contribute more than $13 billion to the economy each year through visitor spending alone. Those same lands provide 20 percent of the nation’s clean water supply, a value estimated at $7.2 billion per year. The agency has either a direct or indirect role in stewardship of about 80 percent of the 850 million forested acres within the U.S., of which 100 million acres are urban forests where most Americans live. USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.