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Photo by Mark McLaughlinThe gates at Tahoe City's dam is Lake Tahoe's only natural outlet.
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Although still a valuable part of the Sierra Nevada economy, timber extraction has significantly declined in past decades. At the same time, the value of such natural resources as water and energy, and the tourism industry, has continued to grow in importance to the regions economic health.Still a vital part of the economy in the northern Sierra, lumbering has declined in importance elsewhere in the range. The continuing decline has led to mill closings, lost jobs and lower revenues.But the Sierra Nevadas water and power resources have grown in importance. The mountain range supplies 60 percent of Californias fresh water, with the bulk of that sustaining the Central Valleys agricultural bounty. By comparison, urban use of the Sierras water is minimal.Electricity produced by hydropower, biomass and geothermal sources has grown in recent years in the Sierra, making the region a net exporter of power.Finally, the Sierras beauty and natural resources has spurred the growth of the regions tourism industry. As a share of a countys total earnings, six of Californias top tourism counties are within the Sierra Nevada.Source: The Sierra Business Councils The State of the Sierra.


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