Lake Tahoe Basin Parking
Due in part to the tremendous growth in demand for backcountry alpine skiing, winter trailhead access has become a significant issue in many areas of the Sierra Nevada, in particular with regard to access from state highways 50 and 89 where they frame the Desolation Wilderness. In the fall of 2015, a Cal-Trans sediment remediation project in the Tahoe basin caused the loss of a number of informal parking turnouts, leading to substantial skier protests. In response to those protests, Cal-Trans and the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency agreed to upgrade certain turnouts so that they could continue to be used by skiers in winter. In addition, D.L. Bliss State Park agreed to keep the parking lot at its entrance station plowed and open during at least the 2015-2016 season. In addition, the Forest Service agreed to allow limited parking at the entrance to Spring Creek Road (before the gate and not blocking the gate.) We look forward to working with all agencies on permanent solutions that improve skier access..
Snowlands Network supports the improvement of parking access. Snowlands has proposed to El Dorado County that it designate winter parking locations at some of the popular access points. Many of these access points have resulted from Forest Service acquisitions of residential lots using “Santini-Burton” funds. Parking should be permitted during all conditions in front of these lots, especially when the lots are situated at the end of cul-de-sacs and thus there is no issue about obstructing residential or business traffic during snow removal.
Parking rules depend on whether the location is on a city street, country road, or state highway. Generally, parking along state highways, off the roadway, is not restricted except where a restriction is posted. On some county roads and city streets, parking is prohibited during the winter months, and in some areas parking is prohibited only during snow removal conditions. In the past, law enforcement authorities have also aggressively ticketed cars parked in situations they consider unsafe or blocking travel, under ambiguous rules. We believe that the rules should be made as consistent and as liberal as possible consistent with public safety and should be effectively communicated to the public.
Snowlands Network also supports the creation of Sno-Parks in more locations that serve the backcountry skier and snowshoer. Two Snowlands boardmembers sit on the Citizen Sno-Park committee, and Snowlands is actively exploring the creation of additional Sno-Parks in currently-unserved areas.