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       Newsletter:    August 2013
LT Aspens
Squeezing out the last bits of Summer...   
We all feel it coming; the faint whispers of flowing Aspen leaves that will soon turn bright gold. Overnight temperatures are cooling, anxious powder-hounds are dreaming of a long, white winter, and many of our part time residents and visitors are enjoying those last few weeks of summer before heading back home.

It was been an amazing summer. We have been hiking, biking, camping, kayaking, and simply enjoying all of the outdoor activities that West Shore has to offer. But summer isn't over just yet, and we encourage you to get out and enjoy what's left of it. In the meantime, please continue reading to find out more about what FOWS is doing to ensure our future generations can enjoy the same magnificence what we do. 


Susan Gearhart,
FOWS President 

Lake Tahoe
Update on TRPA's new Regional Plan 
As noted in our last Newsletter, the new TRPA Regional Plan Update (RPU) responds to political and corporate-driven pressure by allowing major increases in development. Extensive support has been garnered through claims that the new RPU will 'fix' Tahoe's economy, yet tourism - Tahoe's main economic driver - is affected by national factors TRPA can't control.


TRPA was seen as the Lake's Protector under 1987 Plan: 
During the first 15 years or so of implementing the 1987 Regional Plan, the TRPA generally stood its ground - and the rampant development that plagued Tahoe prior to the 1980's was stopped. The 1987 Plan was a true long range plan. The amount of new development was reduced and spread out over the 20 year planning horizon, in part to allow time for environmental improvements to be completed before adding more buildings and people to the Basin. The average annual loss of mid-lake clarity slowed. Positive changes were seen throughout the Basin, and TRPA was viewed by many as a protector of Lake Tahoe. 


Under the new 2012 RPU, TRPA changes its Role: 
Heavenly Ski Village Buildings
The RPU calls for more of this.* 
Do we really want the West Shore and Tahoe City to become another string of Ski Villages?
Many of us have struggled with TRPA's recent abandonment of its role in favor of large development interests. For decades, we felt secure in the knowledge that TRPA would protect Lake Tahoe from harmful development. But unfortunately, spurred by development interests using the national economic downturn to claim massive new development is needed in the Basin, TRPA has jumped full speed ahead on the "economy first" bandwagon - still to the surprise of many. Please review the updated RP information on our website for further discussion on TRPA's evolution and the RPU approved last December.               

*Image of Heavenly Village 'Redevelopment' in SLT. 

Update on Area Plans for West Shore: Placer County 

Tell Placer County What You Want for West Shore!
Placer County is hosting several upcoming public meetings that will address the future of our West Shore communities and Tahoe City. We encourage you to attend and tell the County what you want to see in the future. The next rounds of meetings begin on August 28th with a Tahoe City "Vision Options Plan" workshop, followed by a larger Placer County "Town Hall Meeting" on September 11, where all sections of the future Placer County Tahoe Basin Area Plan will be presented and discussed.

Your feedback matters!
FOWS and TASC collectively represent the interests of 100's of 1,000s of people, both within and outside of the Basin. Many FOWS members and interested communities have been speaking out against the new RP, and the subsequent local "Area Plans" which will endorse, if not expand upon, the increased development allowed by the Plan. In fact, recent public outcry among North and West Shore communities was heard, and the local and regional agencies responded -- by orchestrating 'new' teams more representative of developers' interests to revise the communities' "Visions." A quick look at the Tahoe City Vision generated by such interests is astounding
TC Vision Sidewalk with buildings
Is this really what we want to
see on West Shore?
Where are the Lake and Mountains?  

FOWS is working to support the communities' and Lake's interest, but our resources pale in comparison to those of the TRPA and corporate interests. We need your help, and we encourage all those who care about Lake Tahoe, and her West Shore, to speak up and tell TRPA and the Counties that we don't want more sound bites; we want sound protection for the Lake.

Quick Update: El Dorado County's Area Plan
Desolation Wilderness
Desolation Wilderness and the snow-crested Crystal Range 

El Dorado County is currently developing an Area Plan for the Meyers area. Once completed, the County intends to expand the Area Plan to include the remaining unincorporated areas within the County, including Tahoma, Meeks Bay, and Emerald Bay. The boundaries will also incorporate parts of Desolation Wilderness. We will keep you updated as this process proceeds. 

Let us help update you on the facts of the new RPU and Area Plans.
We invite you to contact us to learn more, ask questions, or simply get to know the FOWS Board and members.    

Please write to Jennifer Quashnick, FOWS Conservation, at: jqtahoe@sbcglobal.net, or Susan Gearhart, FOWS President, at: susan@friendswestshore.org.

Susan R. Gearhart, Pres.

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