Truckee River outlet project opens to the public | SierraSun.com

Truckee River outlet project opens to the public

Joanna Hartman
Sierra Sun

photo by Ryan Salm

A landmark project will be complete at Lake Tahoe’s Truckee River outlet next week.

The project spans both sides of the historic Lake Tahoe dam near Fanny Bridge and includes more than half an acre and 150 feet of riverbank and Tahoe shoreline.

“The most significant part of this project is opening up this area to the public, which had been in private ownership for over 30 years,” said Cindy Gustafson, Tahoe City Public Utility District assistant manager, in a previous interview with the Sierra Sun.

“[We’re] making the area accessible to visitors and residents to enjoy.”

The outlet is part of phase two of the Lakeside Trail Project and will connect the paved bike trail to Mackinaw Road. The entire project includes 15 paved parking places, seat walls, benches, landscaping, interpretive signs, Lakeside Trail bike path connections and a 16-foot colored concrete and brass map of Lake Tahoe.

The project costs $1.8 million in total, with nearly $1.5 million from the South Nevada Public Lands Management Act, Gustafson said. The resort association and Placer County also contributed to the project.

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There is now a concrete pedestrian plaza on the north side of the Truckee River where there was previously a fast-food restaurant and un-surfaced outdoor eating area.

Additionally, Mackinaw Road will be re-constructed for better drainage and road width. Retaining walls will be put in place to stabilize the steep bank along the river, as well as provide support for an overlook. The project will also improve pedestrian access in the area.

In October 1978, the California Department of Parks and Recreation purchased the Truckee River outlet from Sierra Pacific Power Company, with intention to make the historical area public access.

The property had previously been leased to private businesses until leases expired in 2000.

“The whole idea behind [the project] originally was because I wanted to open up the lake to the people who came to see it,” said Bill Briner, former manager for the utility district and leader in obtaining the land for public use, in a previous interview. “I think Tahoe City is becoming more and more recognized as an economic center for North Tahoe.”

The North Lake Tahoe Historical Society, spearheaded by Briner, pushed the State Department of Parks to acquire the property. When the leases neared their expiration, California State Parks, United States Bureau of Reclamation and Tahoe City Public Utility District formed a partnership to develop this project.

Utility district officials credit Briner, Assemblyman Tim Leslie, John Knott, former superintendent with California State Parks, and the Bureau of Reclamation as biggest contributors to the Truckee River Outlet project.