Visit Truckee-Tahoe launches ‘Sustainable Truckee’ initiative
Three pilot programs include Trail Hosts, Trailhead Signs and Outdoor Recreation Collaborative
Visit Truckee-Tahoe has launched “Sustainable Truckee,” an initiative with three pilot programs that address the challenges of high use, peak period visitation impacts in Truckee, Donner Summit and nearby unincorporated Nevada County areas. The initiative brings together local agencies, districts, government and nonprofits in order to collaborate on program development and execution.
Objectives of the initiative include responsible visitor and resident behavior through wildfire danger education, trash prevention measures and other public safety messaging including responsible recreation training – all while cultivating a friendly, positive Truckee experience.
Since forming in March 2020, the Visit Truckee-Tahoe Stewardship Committee created the Sustainable Truckee initiative, then quickly prioritized summer stewardship programs with $30,000 in funding. Additional funding of $25K for three programs was committed by local and regional partners: Truckee Fire Protection District, Nevada County, Truckee Donner Land Trust, Truckee Tahoe Airport District and Town of Truckee. In addition, the USFS incorporated stationed trail hosts into their trailhead work plan for Sawtooth/06.
The first pilot program “Truckee Trail Host Ambassadors” connects outdoor recreation visitors and local residents with the region’s vast public lands through education, safety, and engagement. Trail Hosts include two stationed at Sawtooth 06 and Jackass Ridge at Highway 89, plus two roving Hosts wearing Take Care Tahoe uniforms.
Developed in partnership with the Truckee Trails Foundation (TTF), Truckee Trail Hosts are employed and managed by TTF, working primarily Thursday-Monday (Memorial Day – Labor Day) targeting 18 high-use trail locations as far out as Prosser and up to Donner Summit. Trail Host communication is focused on four Sustainable Truckee communication pillars: Welcoming/friendly, Safety/Advisory, Education/Training, and Engaging/Rewarding. Trail Hosts collect data on types of user interactions and trail condition observations using the Citizen Science App.
“Truckee’s most valuable resource is the Tahoe National Forest, and properly built trails for all ages and abilities ensures Truckee is inclusive and welcomes everyone,” said Sky Allsop, one of the initial members of Truckee Dirt Union and member of Visit Truckee-Tahoe Board of Directors. “Trail Hosts help educate all users, especially first-timers and newcomers, on how to recreate responsibly including absolutely no fires. Hosts also keep an eagle eye out for illegal campfires and will call 911 immediately.”
“Huge shout out to Kim who was on the PCT on Sunday bringing the sunshine to all the hikers!” stated a recent visitor greeted by an enthusiastic “Trail Angel,” according to Allison Pedley, Executive Director of the Truckee Trails Foundation, who is managing the team.
Truckee Trail Hosts join multiple grassroots organizations around the lake, totaling upward of 50 ambassadors from North to South Lake Tahoe. The region wide effort was coordinated by Take Care Tahoe. Town of Truckee’s Keep Truckee Green department also added their own Ambassador (also wearing the Take Care uniform) who roves Donner Pass Road, Donner Lake beaches and the Legacy Trail.
The second Sustainable Truckee program is Truckee Trailhead Signs. Intercepting trail users with friendly, English and Spanish signs advising “NO FIRES, EXTREME FIRE DANGER” and “Know Before You Go” may be the most promising wildfire mitigation strategy. Signs are located at 18 trailheads ranging from Prosser Dam to Alder Creek/Carpenter Valley Emigrant Trail, to Johnson Canyon, Donner Summit and the Pacific Crest Trailhead and I-80 Rest Stop. Funding partner Truckee Fire Protection District also contributed $5K to the Hosts and Signage program costs, in addition to training on how to handle smoldering fire situations. Advisory partners regarding signage locations included USFS, Truckee Trails Foundation, Placer County, Nevada County, Truckee Donner Land Trust and the Donner Summit Association.
“Sustainable Truckee trailhead signs include several QR Codes designed to drive engagement and to reward the right behavior,” said Visit Truckee-Tahoe CEO Colleen Dalton. “Codes link to the Truckee-Tahoe Traveler Pledge (sign pledge, and be entered to win a Leave No Trace Deuter bag), in addition to the Visit Truckee-Tahoe Travel Alert page, VisitTruckeeTahoe.com/travelalert where we post daily, critical updates on wildfire alerts, weather and closures. More QR codes link to VisitTruckeeTahoe.com/localvoices, an opportunity to join the Sustainable Truckee initiative by sharing how locals and visitors take individual action to protect the planet.”
The third program, Sustainable Truckee – Outdoor Recreation Collaborative (STORC) was inspired by Nevada County Supervisor Hardy Bullock and the CCC (Champion, Catalyze, Convene) round table he began in May, given a concerned eye about the summer ahead. With funding provided by the Truckee Donner Land Trust, Truckee Airport District, Town of Truckee and Nevada County, the CCC convenes elected officials, CEO’s, GM’s and other high-level Truckee leadership to ensure they are informed about the efforts of all agencies regarding peak period mitigation strategies in and near Truckee.
To view all nine Sustainable Truckee programs, visit VisitTruckeeTahoe.com/sustainable.
Source: Visit Truckee-Tahoe
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