The Lake Tahoe Region offers an abundance of recreational opportunities highly valued by visitors and residents. These recreational resources are one of the major drivers of the regional economy and contribute to the quality of life in the Tahoe Region. Outdoor recreation can also foster an appreciation for the natural world that promotes environmental stewardship.
The TRPA Bi-State Compact recognizes that maintaining recreational values is critical to the social and economic health of the Region. For this reason, the Bi-State Compact requires that the Regional Plan include “a recreation plan for the development, utilization, and management of the recreational resources of the region…” (Public Law 96-551). The adopted threshold standards for recreation are statements of policy rather than numerical standards. The threshold standard includes two separate policy statements that are evaluated separately. One policy statement directs TRPA to preserve and enhance high quality recreational experiences and provide additional access to the shorezone and other areas for dispersed recreational uses. The second policy statement directs TRPA to “…establish and ensure a fair share of the total basin capacity for outdoor recreation is available to the general public” (TRPA 1982). The goal of the recreation element of the Regional Plan is to manage recreation consistent with the guidance provided in the recreation threshold policy statements to “ensure equilibrium between the region’s natural endowment and its manmade environment” (Public Law 96-551).
The 2011 Threshold Evaluation Report determined that the adopted policy statements for recreation had been implemented. For this threshold evaluation, the evaluation criteria were again compared against the best available information to assess the status of the policy statements. The best available information includes reporting provided through the Environmental Improvement Program on recreation facility development and land acquisition, as well as a series of recreation user satisfaction surveys conducted by recreation providers throughout the Region. Limited information is available on the quality of recreation user experiences, and the available information is not comparable to the data evaluated in previous threshold evaluations. The lack of comparable data on the quality of recreation user experiences limits the confidence in the threshold determination. However, the best available information indicates that TRPA and other agencies are implementing actions that are effective at satisfying the intent of the adopted recreation policy statements and the adopted recreation threshold standards have been implemented.