Plans for new bistate Lake Tahoe park near Stateline approved |

Plans for new bistate Lake Tahoe park near Stateline approved

Associated Press Writer

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE ” Despite budget shortfalls in Nevada and California, a new two-state park at Lake Tahoe has moved a step closer to reality.

The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency on Wednesday approved the first phase of the 416-acre Van Sickle Bi-State Park, which would be located near the Stateline casino area on Tahoe’s south shore.

The plans now go the California Tahoe Conservancy board for action next month. The park would be jointly operated by the conservancy and Nevada Division of State Parks.

The park has been envisioned since 1988, when rancher Jack Van Sickle donated land for its Nevada portion near Heavenly ski resort’s gondola.

“It has taken time to get it off the ground. The kick start came in 2001, when he sold land for the California portion of the park,” said Peter Maholland, a conservation staff specialist with the Nevada parks agency.

In 2007, Nevada legislators authorized a bond sale for the park’s initial phase under a program they earlier established for environmental improvement projects in the Tahoe basin.

The $3 million first phase calls for construction of a parking lot, picnic tables and restrooms.

Construction also could begin this summer on a 21/2-mile trail linking the park to the Tahoe Rim Trail atop Kingsbury Grade, Maholland said.

The trail has been approved by the U.S. Forest Service and is under review by TRPA, the bistate regulatory agency charged with protecting Tahoe.

At TRPA’s meeting, Flavia Sordelet of the League to Save Lake Tahoe pressed for additional environmental review of the project, saying it could adversely affect nearby streams.

While the board disagreed, member Jennifer Montgomery of Placer County, Calif., expressed concern over environmental impacts of later phases of the park.

Subsequent phases call for development of camping facilities, recreational vehicle sites and a network of trails inside the park.

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