Traveler responsibility pledge educates visitors about taking care of Sierra
Popularity of the Lake Tahoe-Truckee region continues to grow as visitors seek recreation amenities and outdoor spaces that the Sierra is known for. To protect and preserve vulnerable ecosystems and residential communities, regional visitor bureaus have joined forces to focus on educational tactics that reinforce the importance of mindful, responsible travel.
To encourage stewardship and offer specific actions that visitors can take to help protect Lake Tahoe, surrounding communities, wildlife and the environment, a new Traveler Responsibility Pledge will be introduced this spring. Composed of six tenants that align with primary sustainability initiatives of the region, the pledge outlines actions visitors and residents can do to immediately reduce their travel related impacts.
“The Traveler Responsibility Pledge was developed so visitors can enjoy the unique culture and natural beauty of our region responsibly,” said Andy Chapman, president and CEO of the Incline Village Crystal Bay Visitors Bureau. “Lake Tahoe has always been a popular destination and as more people continue to visit or call the Sierra ‘home,’ it is important for them to appreciate locals’ expectations so they can help leave it better than they found it.”
“The six elements of the pledge will be helpful for guests experiencing outdoor environments for the first time – to recognize what personal responsibility looks like and the importance of making a positive impact on the mountain communities they visit,” continued Jeffrey Hentz, CEO of the North Lake Tahoe Resort Association.
The six pledge commitments visitors are asked to follow include:
- Become a Steward of Tahoe-Truckee. Commit to exploring the region responsibly and help preserve treasured places by leaving them better than you found them. Participate in a clean-up day, download and use the Citizens Science Tahoe App, ride public transportation and support small businesses and events.
- Respect the Environment. Leave no trace by packing out what you brought in, properly dispose of trash and stay on trails to reduce your impact on the environment. Other ways to participate include saying no to plastic and bringing your own reusable water bottle.
- Stay Educated. Check regional Know Before You Go resources and be prepared for changing weather conditions and operational modifications. Sign up for city, county and state text alerts to stay connected with real-time travel advisories and emergency updates.
- Keep Wildlife Wild. It’s critical to observe wildlife from a respectful distance and to not feed wild animals. Remembering this will keep you safe and the wildlife wild.
- Be Fire Safe. Consult fire restrictions before lighting a campfire or starting a grill, and know the permitting rules before burning anything outdoors. When using charcoal or wood in approved areas, be sure to completely soak, stir and feel ashes to ensure they’re out.
- Demonstrate Mindful Travel. If an outdoor area looks too crowded, move on and explore a new location. Speak kindly to people you encounter and remember to be a good neighbor by keeping noise down and parking in designated areas. Travel with awareness and be mindful of the impact of your actions.
“Our role in tourism is shifting to help educate our guests on becoming conscious of their impacts and encouraging them to become an ambassador for the region,” said Carol Chaplin, president and CEO of the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority. “This effort to shift behavior is paramount and will require ongoing collaboration between visitors and locals.”
Local leaders and organizations who have made significant contributions to the preservation of the Sierra will help encourage participation and commitment to the Traveler Responsibility Pledge. Ongoing work to take care of the local environment will be highlighted and voluntourism opportunities will be regularly shared across regional digital channels.
Take the pledge and learn more about what to expect and how to travel and recreate responsibly in Lake Tahoe-Truckee at gotahoenorth.com and tahoesouth.com.
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The past few weeks have felt choking. Every time I step outside, I feel like I can’t breathe. The walls that keep the smoke out seem to get smaller and smaller as summer crawls on.