Truckee, North Tahoe brace for busy Memorial Day |

Truckee, North Tahoe brace for busy Memorial Day

"To protect and preserve the Sierra region, we're asking visitors and residents alike to commit to six pledge tenets that amplify environmental stewardship efforts," said Liz Bowling, director of global communications for North Lake Tahoe.
File photo

Heading into Memorial Day weekend, restrictions in North Tahoe are being eased as Placer County moves into the state’s orange tier.

With large crowds expected this weekend, restaurants, theaters, and churches can open at 50% indoor capacity. Bars are also allowed to reopen, while concert venues and gyms can open to 35% capacity.

Currently, Placer County is averaging 4.0 positive cases per 100,000 people. There were 22 people in the county hospitalized with COVID-19 on Thursday. Placer County’s move into the orange tier comes ahead of the state’s plan to fully reopen on June 15.

Promoted as opening day on the lake, some of Tahoe’s hotels are full going into the weekend, according to a forecast from the North Lake Tahoe Chamber of Commerce, while others are hovering between 50% and 60% occupancy. Additionally, Reno-Tahoe International Airport said it is set to have its busiest weekend since the outbreak of COVID-19. More than 12,500 passengers are expected to arrive and depart each day this holiday weekend.

With a surge in visitors expected this weekend, Liz Bowling, director of global communications for North Lake Tahoe, said guests are being asked to follow the tenets of a traveler responsibility pledge toward reducing impacts and promote sustainable practices throughout the region.

“To protect and preserve the Sierra region, we’re asking visitors and residents alike to commit to six pledge tenets that amplify environmental stewardship efforts,” explained Bowling. “The Traveler Responsibility Pledge is rooted in preservation tactics, education and mindfulness. The pledge reminds us to travel with awareness and observe the impact of individual actions. Layered into each pledge are actionable steps to take, like participating in a beach clean up with Tahoe Blue Crews, drinking Tahoe Tap from a reusable bottle, and to leave no trace no matter the adventure. Our role in tourism is shifting to help educate guests on becoming more conscious of their impacts and encouraging them to become an ambassador for the region. This effort to shift behavior is paramount and will require ongoing collaboration between visitors and locals.”


The Sierra State Parks Foundation announced the opening of a number of facilities this weekend.

Ed Z’berg Sugar Pine Point State Park is off winter camping and requires reservations through summer. DL Bliss State Park campgrounds have also opened to reservations this week. The park is also now open to vehicle and day use. Additionally, Donner Lake’s West End Beach will open for the season on Saturday.


While businesses in North Lake Tahoe will face fewer restrictions going into the weekend, those in Nevada County remain under the rules of the red tier.

Still, Truckee is preparing for an increase in visitation, urging visitor accountability ahead of what is traditionally one of the busiest weekends of the year. The town is asking visitors and locals that plan on recreating outdoors to “pack it in, pack it out,” stating that trash cans during busy weekends often become full. Those visiting one of the area’s parks or beaches are being advised to bring their own trash bags and be prepared to fit it in their vehicle.

The Truckee Police Department also indicated it will have increased staff this weekend, and will be focusing efforts on problem areas like overnight parking on Donner Pass Road, bush shelters, and downtown.

After each Memorial Day weekend, Truckee hosts its largest clean-up day of the year. Since 2003, Truckee Day volunteers have removed approximately 36 tons of trash from the area. This year’s Truckee Day is scheduled for Saturday, June 5. Volunteers can sign up at

“We’re asking our participants to sign up online ahead of time so that we can be prepared for the number of attendees, and to limit interaction at each check-in station,” said Keep Truckee Green staff member Erica Mertens.

This weekend, visitors and locals are also being reminded to stay on formal trails as use of undesignated trails results in degradation of environmental resources. Boaters on Donner Lake are also reminded to submit a self-inspection form to the Truckee Police Department before launching this season.

Justin Scacco is a reporter for the Sierra Sun. Contact him at or 530-550-2643

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