Keep Tahoe Blue

Which mountain range includes Lake Tahoe, the largest alpine lake in North America?

And the answer: Sierra Nevada.

The Sierra Nevada is a mountain range in the Western United States, with the vast majority in the state of California. The range has a significant history, including the California Gold Rush that occurred in the western foothills in the mid 1800s.

Lake Tahoe was first home to the Washoe Native Americans– the centuries-old indigenous inhabitants of the Tahoe area. Up until the time of westward expansion, the Washoe people centered their society around the lake as their heart and cultural center. However, the gold rush soon changed things. As thousands of gold-seekers and migrants passed through the basin, Lake Tahoe quickly grew in popularity for its sights and tourist attractions. Loggers began to take to the forest while residents from nearby Virginia City began to capitalize on the seemingly endless natural resources of the lake. The population grew as the site grew commercially; what was once 10,000 full-time residents became 50,o00, while summer population jumped to 90,000 in just 20 years.

But, as knowledge of the lake grew, so too did its conservation efforts. In 1957, the League to Save Lake Tahoe (or the Keep Tahoe Blue movement) was founded. One of the group's earliest victories was the defeat of a development plan in the 1960s that would have destroyed much of the natural landscape. The plan included a high-speed freeway circling the lake, a bridge over Emerald Bay, additional casino districts, and heavily populated urban centers around the lake. The League managed to sway public opinion, and insert itself as the primary contender in the fight for continued conservation of the lake. Since then, the League is considered to be the "watchdog" of the Tahoe basin.

Learn more about the fight to conserve the largest alpine lake in North America here.


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