Can Smart Growth Save Lake Tahoe?

Planners in major urban areas have long been touting the virtues of density, mixed use, and public transit. But can these smart growth principles apply in a wilderness area dedicated to seasonable tourism?
"In perhaps a more sensible world, the 325,000-acre Lake Tahoe Basin would not be governed by two rival states, a handful of small cities, and embittered factions of environmentalists and resort-casino owners. Nor would it have miles of open highway or 55,000 year-round residents. Rather, it would be treated like the Grand Canyon, the Everglades, or any other of America's major natural wonders."

"Instead, pioneers, skiers, and gamblers got to the Tahoe area before the federal government could-and, from many environmentalists' perspective, many of them got their at the worst possible time. By the time regional planning arrived, in the form of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, the basin had already been widely developed. TRPA sought mainly to bring development to a crawl, even at the possible expense of good, environmentally friendly development."

"Though the prospect of promoting development in order to achieve conservation goals may seem paradoxical, TRPA officials say that it can go a long way towards undoing some of the ecological being inflicted by existing developments....Though cities like South Lake Tahoe and Nevada's Incline Village are not exactly metropoli, TRPA planners say that by clustering growth in small town centers and around existing resort infrastructure-such as the basin's major ski areas-the plan will lead to reduced driving, pollution, storm water runoff, and other adverse impacts on the basin's ecological health."

Thanks to Josh Stephens

Full Story: Tahoe Plan Attempts to Introduce Smart Growth to Great Outdoors


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