Yearly cleanup at Lake Tahoe nets almost 2,000 pounds of trash |

Yearly cleanup at Lake Tahoe nets almost 2,000 pounds of trash

Laney Griffo
Special to The Union
The Tahoe Fund urges people to take their broken sleds home unless they absolutely can't.

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — Thousands of pounds of trash were collected last week in what has become an annual New Year’s cleanup at Lake Tahoe.

Take Care Tahoe, with the help of Nevada Department of Transportation, U.S. Forest Service and Nevada State Parks on Thursday, Jan. 2, collected nearly 2,000 pounds of debris from Spooner Summit sledding area.

The sledding area, at the junction of U.S. Highway 50 and Nevada State Route 28, is a popular spot for tourists. The recreation area grew so crowded this past weekend that many cars parked across the highway, along the eastbound side of Highway 50.

According to Amy Berry — CEO of Tahoe Fund, one of Take Care Tahoe partner agencies — the area is not under management during the winter, meaning no dumpsters can be set up at the site.

“Unfortunately, the amount of trash removed this January is similar to the large amounts of waste left behind by recreationists during previous winters,” said Nevada Department of Transportation Public Information Officer Meg Ragonese.

Some of the 1,920 pound of debris picked up included broken sleds, lost snow clothes, dirty baby diapers, food wrappers and waste.

“Such debris is not only damaging to the Tahoe environment, it has the potential of being blown onto area highways where it can become a safety risk for passing motorists,” Ragonese said. “It is so critical that all recreationists and road users clean up after themselves. Packing out what you pack in not only helps preserve our Tahoe environment, it also helps ensure that our fellow recreationists and drivers have safe and clean areas to visit and travel.”

To help mitigate the trash issue, Tahoe Fund has set up sled corrals at the Spooner Summit sledding area, as well as other areas around the basin. This is the third year the corrals have been put up.

They are intended for people to put their broken sleds in one place to make collection easier.

“Ideally, we would want people to take their sleds home, whether broken or not,” Berry said.

One area Berry has had issues helping is Mt. Rose Meadows. Because the area is exposed to the elements, the corrals get blown away.

She urged people to help clean up their trash and do their part in keeping the recreation areas clean.

NDOT will conduct similar clean ups each month. At the end of the season, they’ll do a massive clean up in conjunction with the Nevada Division of Forestry-led state prison crews.

“Roadside litter removal is just one of the approximately 100 different roadway maintenance tasks that NDOT roadway maintenance staff perform, from snow plowing to roadway repaving and crack filling to traffic flagging for driver safety at roadway incident scenes,” Ragonese said.

Laney Griffo is a staff writer for the Tahoe Daily Tribune.

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