President Bill Clinton to attend Lake Tahoe Forum | SierraSun.com

President Bill Clinton to attend Lake Tahoe Forum

Jeff Munson and Evan Schladow
Sun News Service

Dan Thrift/Sun News Service file photoVice-President Al Gore, left, watches as President Bill Clinton signs the executive order earmarking $300 million for Lake Tahoe in 1997.

Former President Bill Clinton will be among the political figures to attend the 10th Anniversary Lake Tahoe Forum at Incline Village’s Sierra Nevada College on Aug. 17, U.S. Sen. Harry Reid announced Thursday.

The forum commemorates the 10 years of annual political summits for Lake Tahoe, since President Clinton and Vice President Al Gore established the Lake Tahoe Federal Advisory Committee following the initial Lake Tahoe Presidential Forum in 1997.

The forum resulted in $50 million in federal spending for conservation-oriented work in the Tahoe basin, marking a change in tide towards greater protection of the Tahoe area’s natural resources.

This original commitment spurred California and Nevada to follow suit, all coming together to help fund the $900 million Tahoe Regional Planning Agency’s Environmental Improvement Plan.

While Reid has organized similar gatherings in the past, the 10th anniversary has attracted larger names than usual. In addition to President Clinton and Senator Reid, Reid’s office lists Senator John Ensign, Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, former Sen. Richard H. Bryan, Nevada Gov. Jim Gibbons and U.S. Rep. Dean Heller as attending.

It is unknown whether Hillary Clinton, who is running for president, will be attending the summit along with her husband, or whether Gore, who was rumored to attend, will in fact make an appearance.

Recommended Stories For You

Hillary Clinton will travel to Las Vegas on Aug. 9, kicking off a multi-city tour of Nevada to take place over multiple dates during the month. The “Ready to Lead in the West” tour will incorporate events in both urban and rural Nevada, involving visits from top campaign surrogates, as well as the candidate herself, said Hilarie Grey, communications director for Clinton’s Nevada presidential campaign.

Additional dates and details for the “Ready to Lead in the West” tour will be announced soon, Grey said. However, she would not say whether Tahoe was part of Hillary Clinton’s planned tour agenda.

While still focusing on substantive issues to protect the lake, this forum is expected to have a more celebratory tone, according to Carl Young program coordinator for the League to Save Lake Tahoe, which has collaborated on the events since their inception.

In addition to looking back on 10 years of research and conservation at Lake Tahoe, the forum will provide an opportunity to review efforts at preventing wildfires, reducing forest fuel load in the basin and wildlife restoration, coming in the wake of the Angora fire. The blaze, which started as an illegal campfire on June 24, destroyed more than 250 homes, displaced hundreds and charred 3,100 acres in the North Upper Truckee, Mountain View Estates and Tahoe Mountain areas.

Speculation continues over whether the attending political figures will use the 10th anniversary event to announce a new funding cycle for the basin. While Young claimed such an announcement as a distinct possibility, Senator Reid’s office will not yet confirm anything definite.

“Senator Reid is always looking for ways to preserve the clarity of Lake Tahoe and protect its surrounding region,” said Reid spokesman Jon Summers.

The 10th Anniversary Lake Tahoe Forum will take place from 3 to 4 p.m. on Aug. 17, 2007 at Sierra Nevada College. The event is open to the public. Call Mary Conelly at (775) 686-5750 for information.