11 Jan 2022
By Tim Hauserman
While in many ways the last two years have been tough ones North Tahoe area: devastating forest fires, frequent bouts of unhealthy levels of smoke and fear of evacuations. Even what in the long term is good news for curtailing those forest fires; a major series of winter storms setting a record for December snowfall, had its challenges: Horrible traffic jams and lots of power outages.
But, there are still lots of reasons for hope and gratitude going into 2022. Here are a few that I’m leaning on:
Hopefully all that snow is the start of a long, snowy winter that will reduce fire danger next summer and bring enough water to create spectacular spring waterfalls and raise the level of our mountain lakes and reservoirs. Higher lake levels mean not only more water to play in, but less worry about water supplies.
Also, hopefully the series of holiday storms will be a wake-up call for visitors to Lake Tahoe, to head the predictions of weather folks and government agencies who issue warnings. All of the dire predictions that said that roads would close, power would be shut off, and it would be dangerous to be up at Tahoe during the storm came true, and yet lots of folks came anyway. They were then shocked, shocked I tell ya to find out that the roads were closed and they were stuck and they had no power.
I also can dream that perhaps the near miss we experienced this past year with the Caldor Fire will spark (oops, perhaps not the right word) expanded focus on steps to take to reduce fire danger: Increased forest management, more awareness amongst forest users about fire danger, and a new emphasis on how to have a sustainable forest economy. One of the shining stars of that scary fire was that the forest thinning operations that have been carried out in the Tahoe basin over the last twenty years made the fire’s impact in South Lake Tahoe much less severe than it would have been if the forests had not been thinned.
And most important of all. While not every day, on most days, Tahoe is a place where slopes of green forest lead to high peaks, crystal clear mountain lakes shimmer amongst the smooth granite of Desolation Wilderness, and the lake, is always there, spouting a different look every day from the deepest of blues during a wind storm with a clear sky, to the mysterious almost black and white vision of the hazy smoky times.