With daytime temperatures at Lake Tahoe in the high 60s, U.S. Forest Service officials have decided to open some recreation sites early.
The Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit on Wednesday will open Eagle Falls parking area, Inspiration Point, Kiva picnic area, Tallac Point day-use area, Big Meadows trailhead, Logan Shoals and Secret Harbor.
Mid-May is the usual earliest opening date and, in snowier years, some sites have opened much later than that.
“This is the earliest opening we have had in recent memory,” said Lisa Herron, a public affairs specialist with the management unit.
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“With the springlike weather we’ve been having, we’re shifting forest resources to open gates and parking areas to provide access to our beaches, trails and roads,” Forest Supervisor Jeff Marsolais said in a statement.
However, Marsolais added, “we’re not able to fully staff these sites until closer to our typical season, so we’re asking for your help in keeping these sites clean and safe.”
Until the sites are fully opened to the public, water systems will not be turned on, restrooms and trash removal will not be available, and many parking lots will not be open.
Visitors are asked to pack out all trash, park off the roadway, avoid parking on vegetation or blocking access gates, and, where pets are allowed, to clean up after them.
Before the sites fully open, the Forest Service must hire crews and staff to manage the sites, clean up from winter, remove safety hazards and wait for the danger of a freeze to pass before turning on water systems.
Other sites, while opening later than Wednesday, are still expected to open earlier than they do in non-drought years.
Baldwin and Nevada Beaches will open May 1. On May 8, the McKinney Rubicon Off-Highway-Vehicle area, Sawmill Pond, Sandpit OHV area, Nevada Beach Campground and Chimney Beach will open.
William Kent, Kaspian, Meeks Bay, Bayview and Fallen Leaf beaches and campgrounds are scheduled to open May 15. William Kent Campground, on Lake Tahoe’s west shore near Tahoe City, has been renovated.
Luther Pass Campground and Pope Beach will open May 22, and Blackwood Canyon and Watson Lake campgrounds will open June 1.