Forest Service closes popular Taylor Creek area in South Lake Tahoe
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif., – A popular fall destination in South Lake Tahoe is being closed for a month to discourage large crowds from gathering due to coronavirus-related concerns.
The USDA Forest Service Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit announced Thursday that it is closing Taylor Creek and the surrounding area from Oct. 3 through Nov. 2 due to trail work, the risk of human-bear encounters and the safety of all visitors since social distancing would be difficult.
In recent years, the Taylor Creek area has experienced a large increase in use as visitors flock to the creek to observe the fall spawning of Kokanee salmon, which also provides a natural food source for black bears. Visitor center staff have routinely observed visitors approaching bears at unsafe distances to observe bear behavior and take photographs, officials said.
The risk of bear-human interaction combined with anticipated crowding and inability to maintain social distance requirements on narrow trails, trail construction and public health concerns associated with large gatherings all contributed to the decision to close the area for public safety.
“During the month of October, Taylor Creek receives thousands of visitors each day and can receive as many as 12,000 visitors over one weekend,” said Acting Forest Supervisor Danelle Harrison in a press release. “While we understand the popularity of the area this time of year, the safety of our visitors and employees remains our highest priority.”
The temporary closure order prohibits members of the public, including photographers, from entering the Taylor Creek area from Fallen Leaf Dam to the marsh area where the creek empties into Lake Tahoe. Parking areas at Taylor Creek Visitor Center, Taylor Creek Sno-Park and the nearby pump station will be closed and parking on the shoulders of Highway 89 near the bridge that crosses Taylor Creek will be prohibited.
Officials are also reminding visitors that portions of the Rainbow Trail are still under construction for a project that began in late July to reroute approximately 600 feet of the existing trail out of sensitive wetland areas and extend a section of the elevated boardwalk. This watershed improvement project is designed to reduce impacts to the heavily visited and beloved Rainbow Trail, while protecting wildlife in the area to ensure the trail remains viable for the enjoyment of visitors in the years to come.
The closure order is available for viewing on the Forest Order webpage under the “Taylor Creek” heading.
The Tahoe Daily Tribune is a sister publication of the Sierra Sun.
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