During storm cycles, TBA receives multiple reports of emergency and plow vehicles unable to complete their jobs due to poorly parked vehicles and over-congested trailhead parking.
Our actions as a community have a direct impact on winter access to public lands. Land managers and public agencies prioritize essential emergency services–and we should too. Our collective actions as a community play a large hand in preserving winter access to public lands.
To help educate the backcountry community, TBA responded by creating a friendly “parking ticket” that we’re encouraging anyone to share with drivers who could benefit from a teachable moment. We understand that the etiquette in our sports and community is vague and often confusing–it’s new and evolving. It’s also important to give people the benefit of the doubt when they don’t get it right, and to educate with kindness. By sharing these tickets, we hope to generate a wider understanding of parking etiquette in Tahoe so that the backcountry community continues to enjoy access to public lands and essential services run without interruption.
Thanks in advance for your help.
Anthony en route to a line.
The Tahoe Backcountry Alliance is excited to announce the hiring of new Executive Director, Anthony Cupaiuolo! Anthony is a long time splitboarder, South Tahoe local, and passionate advocate for public lands access. When not advocating for backcountry access in Tahoe, Anthony is a photographer, filmmaker and director at First Tracks Productions. TBA recently sat down with Anthony for a conversation to get to know him a bit better, learn about his backcountry roots, and where he sees opportunities for TBA and the greater Tahoe backcountry community. If you run into Anthony in the skin track or at the store, be sure to give him a hearty hello. We’re thrilled to have Anthony aboard!
Q: Can you describe your first experience in the backcountry and what made it stick?
I grew up in New York about 45 minutes from New York City. My parents were born and raised in the Bronx and never had the opportunity to get to the mountains in the winter.
I was fortunate that the school I went to had a ski club and we’d go to small ski areas in western Massachusetts or Southern New York one day each weekend during the winter. I fell in love with sliding on snow during those early trips.
Fast forward a bit to college and I was going to school in Western New York and teaching snowboarding at a very small hill, Swain Ski & Snowboard Center, and my love of sliding on snow grew even more. So much so, that my spring breaks weren’t to beaches, but to the mountains.
During my Junior year, I convinced a friend to go to Jackson Hole with me. Neither of us had done any skiing/snowboarding outside of east coast resorts and Jackson Hole blew us away. On our second day, we saw people leaving the resort through gates and hiking out a ridge line. And, of course, we decided to follow suit. No backcountry experience. No avi gear. It wasn’t the smartest thing to do, but we were so clueless we had no idea what we didn’t know.
Although we were somewhere we shouldn’t have been, based on our lack of knowledge, equipment and skillsets, the experience of riding terrain away from–even if very close to– a resort was transformative.
That was over 25 years ago and I still experience the same wonder and awe that I did that day throughout each winter.
Q: What is one of your favorite descents in Tahoe?
A: There’s a lot of amazing terrain and plenty to pick from here, but I’m going to go with one of the chutes on the south bowl of Mt. Tallac. This line has a great combo of fun terrain and epic (is that word trademarked?) views. The massive wall on the skiers left side of the line makes you feel like you’re in the Eastern Sierra, but there are huge views of Fallen Leaf Lake down below. Yeah, that’s definitely one of my favorites.
Q: What do you think is one of the biggest areas of opportunity for the backcountry community?
A: I think backcountry skiing/snowboarding has grown substantially in recent years. And, for some, that can be an annoyance – more people in your “backyard”. But, I like to look at it as an opportunity to work toward common goals. And, it can be easier to do that with a larger group as there are more resources available. We’re going to continue to work on behalf of this large/growing community on a variety of access issues. Access to me goes beyond just parking at trailheads. I don’t mean to dismiss that. That’s incredibly important and will be a large part of TBA’s work in the years to come. But, it also means access for people that might not otherwise have the opportunity to take part in the experiences we’re so fortunate to be a part of. TBA will be supporting and partnering with organizations that seek to break down some of the barriers to access. And I’m really excited about that opportunity.
Q: What do you think is a big challenge for the Tahoe backcountry community?
A: This builds a bit off the previous question. We have a bigger group of backcountry users than we had before and that includes a lot of new folks just getting in to touring. With that, there’s the potential for users to have sub-par experiences. If you get to a trailhead and it’s full because people didn’t park correctly, you see trash at trailheads or along the skin track, neighbors complain about noise at trailheads in their respective areas… all of these can detract from the experience that we look for when we’re spending a day in the backcountry. So, with all that said, I think a big challenge is education. Avalanche education is essential – but I think there are other areas where education can be incredibly important and TBA will continue to and expand on our role of fulfilling that need.
Q: What are you most excited about serving as ED of TBA?
A: I’m especially excited about getting to be ED of a growing organization that has already accomplished a lot in a short period and has a lot of passionate people working together–often behind the scenes–for common goals. Oh, having meetings on the skin track isn’t too shabby either.
Anthony can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
October 26, 2021
Great news for the South Lake Tahoe backcountry for the upcoming season! On Saturday, October 23, the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit (LTBMU) of the US Forest Service lifted forest closures for the Echo Skyline near Meyers in South Lake Tahoe, including Angora, Echo and Flagpole Peaks to the shores of both Upper and Lower Echo Lakes. Talking Mountain and Becker Peak, south of Echo Lakes, remain closed.
To learn more about the the forest order, click here.
Big thanks to the US Forest Service and all other agencies and personnel involved in protecting South Lake Tahoe during the Caldor Fire and restoring the our public lands. Please respect all forest orders and restrictions. Many closures remain in effect within the burn area due to hazardous post-burn conditions, in addition to forest restoration efforts.
July 23, 2021–Passionate about the Tahoe backcountry and want to make a difference improving access to public lands for backcountry enthusiasts? Tahoe Backcountry Alliance is searching for a new Executive Director! To learn more and apply, see the below job description.
Job title: Executive Director
Reports to: Board of Directors
The Tahoe Backcountry Alliance was founded in 2015, and is a community driven non-profit whose mission is to be the voice for the human-powered winter backcountry community in the Lake Tahoe area, advocating for and informing our community about critical issues affecting winter backcountry recreation in and around Tahoe. About the Tahoe Backcountry Alliance
Headquartered in North Tahoe, TBA is made up of an 8 person Governance Board and a very active Advisory Board. TBA prioritizes strong community relationships in an effort to create collaborative problem solving solutions to winter access.
For more information, visit: http://tahoebackcountryalliance.org/
The Executive Director reports to the Board of Directors, and is responsible for the organization’s consistent achievement of its mission and financial objectives. In program development and administration, the Executive Director will:
Fundraising & Admin (30%)
- Coordinate with the Board Treasurer to ensure financial stability of the organization and proper deployment of grant funding for projects.
- Attend and propose agendas for Governance Board meetings.
- Seek out and manage fundraising opportunities including potential grant, institutional, and government funding.
- Manage and engage the Advisory Board.
- Ensure that TBA is meeting its goals of supporting and enhancing human-powered winter backcountry recreation access.
- Manage major TBA projects supporting human-powered winter backcountry recreation access.
- Attend relevant meetings related to human-powered winter backcountry recreation access and report back to the TBA Board regarding meeting proceedings and potential impacts.
- Maintain ongoing communication with stakeholders.
- Create and maintain relationships with relevant policy makers and public agencies.
- Seek opportunities to enhance access to human-powered winter backcountry recreation among a more diverse user base.
- Manage yearly TBA events calendar, volunteer recruitment, communications, and set up.
- Attend and provide logistical support for major events, including alcohol license and insurance procurement.
- Coordinate public messaging with target audience (e.g., social media, events, television, print).
- Ensure that TBA is connecting with and growing its membership via public events, social media, and in-person outreach.
- Ensure that TBA is reaching a diverse audience through its outreach
- Foster synergistic relationships with organizations aligned with the TBA mission statement.
The ED is someone who…
- Has a passion for human-powered winter backcountry recreation and the mission of Tahoe Backcountry Alliance.
- Has advanced leadership and management skills.
- Can multitask.
- Takes initiative.
- Works independently.
- Has creative problem-solving skills.
- Has an enthusiastic approach to problems and challenges.
- Has a dynamic, positive personality.
- Is flexible and can adapt.
- Is organized.
- Is collaborative.
The ED is someone with…
- A Bachelor’s or more advanced degree.
- 5 or more years of leadership and management experience in a nonprofit organization.
- 3 or more years management or supervisory experience.
- Experience working with or on nonprofit boards.
Working Conditions/Physical Requirements
The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met in order to successfully perform the essential functions of the job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions: Functions include, but are not limited to, the ability to talk and communicate sufficiently to exchange accurate information, move about the office and out of office to various indoor and outdoor locations, and remaining in a stationary position for extended periods. Must occasionally lift objects from a lower to higher position or move objects horizontally from position to position. May have light work exerting up to 20 pounds of force occasionally, and/or up to 10 pounds of force frequently, and/or a negligible amount of force constantly to move objects.
TIME COMMITMENT & COMPENSATION:
This position is part-time at ~50% FTE (19 hours/week), with a salary of $40,000 (annual total), and includes no benefits.
To apply for this position, or for additional information on the opportunity, please send a copy of your resume with a cover letter to email@example.com.
All applications and inquiries will receive a response and be kept strictly confidential.
The Tahoe Backcountry Alliance is an Equal Opportunity Employer.
Map of Donner Lake Run and West End Beach parking.
In collaboration with the Truckee Parks and Recreation Department (TPRD), the Truckee Donner Land Trust (TDLT), and The Donner Lake Woods Home Owners Association (DLWHOA), the Tahoe Backcountry Alliance (TBA) is proud to announce the signed agreement allowing winter parking at the Donner Lake West End Beach Parking Lot!
This classic descent is a great source of recreation on public lands, but there have also been persistent access and trespassing issues in the Donner Lake neighborhoods for years. While the majority of users were respectful, there were recurring instances of illegal parking on public streets, parking in private driveways and littering.
The Tahoe Backcountry Alliance, Truckee Donner Land Trust, and Donner Lakes Woods HOA have collaborated with the Truckee Parks and Recreation Department to create winter parking at the West End of Donner Lake. TBA is funding the re-paving of the twenty spaces and the annual snow clearing of the site. West end Snow Clearing is contracted to do the snow removal and has generously offered a discounted rate for this winter season. The lease agreement is for five years with possible renewal on the fifth and tenth year. In addition, DLWHOA leased a portion of their open space parcel to the Land Trust in order to facilitate a full public lands descent from Donner Summit to the winter parking location.
This new parking area will provide a means to manage user behavior, reduce litter, and concentrate traffic to and from one point. By creating one access point for legal, public recreation, users will begin and end their trips at the new trailhead, reducing unintentional trespassing and concentrating impacts onto the designated space. Additionally, mapped signage will help educate users about property boundaries and neighborhood regulations.
Tahoe Backcountry Alliance Executive Director, Greg Garrison, says, “This is an amazing opportunity for the backcountry community to demonstrate the values of stewardship, mentorship, and dedication to the broader Tahoe community that make this user group so special. The upcoming ski season will see unprecedented backcountry users throughout the Tahoe Basin. It is imperative that we as the backcountry community continue to foster relationships such as this to improve our public lands access in the winter season”.
In order to ensure the continued support of the Parks Department, it is imperative that the backcountry community acts in good faith to the neighborhood homeowners and follows principles outlined in the recently published Backcountry Tips and Etiquette by TBA.
Wayne Poulsen with his buddies shuttling Highway 40, circa 1932 (Glen Poulsen)
Tahoe Backcountry Community,
We have a unique opportunity to provide input to Placer County on backcountry access points in the Tahoe Basin.
Placer County is seeking public and stakeholder input for its North Tahoe Recreation Access Plan.
The plan proposes public access improvements to outdoor recreation areas. The proposal aligns with key action priorities under Lake Tahoe’s Environmental Improvement Program’s Sustainable Recreation focus area.
A public survey is now available. Placer County is also working with multiple stakeholders including public and private property owners and land managers to learn about related recreation plans and to explore partnership opportunities.
Public Input Survey
Tahoe Backcountry Alliance has developed a Sample List of Comments you can use if desired for the Survey. See below for specific areas of interest and potential solutions.
Thanks so much to Placer County and the entities involved for encouraging timely public input on this important subject. North Lake Tahoe is blessed with direct access to the Tahoe National Forest and incredible opportunities for sustainable recreation. Backcountry skiing, snowshoeing, mountain biking, and paddle sports are the fastest growing segment of the outdoor industry. Their growth is far outpacing access to opportunities and Tahoe is no exception.
The most sustainable way of providing access in the long term (post-COVID) is providing door to door micro-transit to the various recreational venues. In the short run Alterra, Northstar, and Homewood should provide micro-transit based on the Mountaineer model currently being utilized in Squaw Valley. These services should be expanded to home owners at Alpine Meadows and the Alpine Peaks subdivision in Ward Canyon to access the Sherwood and Alpine meadows lift networks.
The hope would be to work towards door to door Micro-transit to all North Shore recreation locations potentially utilizing transient occupancy tax funding. Ideally, future transit vehicles will be EV’s if and when possible.
Placer has done an excellent job of creating parking, posting signage and plowing the roads end at Silvertip in Talmont for access to the Page Meadows area. Recreationalists drive through the residential subdivision on the public roadway to access the USFS land at the roads end. There is a sizable lot with SKI Parking actually posted. This is a model for other neighborhood access trailheads on the North Shore. Important access points on the North and West Shore in Placer County include the following, in sequence of importance:
- Sherwood: This is the only high elevation access on the North and West shore of Lake Tahoe and is thus critical to backcountry recreationalists in the area. The current lot is at the terminus of Ward Canyon. It is accessed by a public roadway and is within the public road right of way and has been paved with public dollars. The lot has been used since at least the 1980’s by thousands of backcountry recreationalists, summer and winter, accessing the public lands immediately to the west. The lot should be signed as public parking and expanded if possible. Tahoe Backcountry Alliance may be willing to provide a funding mechanism for funding snow removal and maintenance of this lot.
- New Stanford Rock bike trail/Ward Canyon rim trailhead: This site which is currently often used as a plow turnaround by Placer County already includes a large, level cleared dirt area that is heavily utilized by recreationalists spring through fall. Ideally this can be paved and become a year-round official lot and Trailhead for the Stanford Rock mountain biking trail and Ward Canyon Rim Trail. It would also provide access for winter users of Stanford Rock via the abandoned USFS access road. Ideally, an access bridge across Ward Creek could be constructed in the future at the old USFS road crossing.
- Grand Avenue: This is the ideal non-motorized access point to Blackwood Canyon. At present there are a few spaces that end up being cleared here that access the USFS dirt road on the south side of the canyon. If this could be opened up and signed, it would provide quiet skier and snowshoe access to Blackwood Canyon.
- Fulton Crescent and Carnelian Woods areas provide important local non-motorized access to the Watson Peak area. These road ends should be kept clear, open and signed for local recreationalists. It has become clear especially in view of COVID, how important neighborhood access to public lands is in enhancing mental and physical well-being.
- Pole Creek and Deep Creek: These are the most important non-motorized access points in the Highway 89 corridor towards Truckee. Parking here is within the Caltrans highway easement . The use of this parking has been exploding and fortunately Caltrans has responded accordingly. Hopefully, we can establish, expand and clearly sign delineated parking areas for the interest of all parties moving forward.
- Snow Play Areas: Another important issue to be addressed is providing specific Snow Play areas and providing ready information to access those areas. The areas should offer trash receptacles and LNT signage. North Tahoe Regional Park, Tahoe City Golf Course, Granlibakken or even a paid snow play area at the old Powder Bowl ski area at the base of Alpine Meadows might be options.
Thank you for taking action and helping to improve public lands access in the Tahoe Basin.
Tahoe Backcountry Alliance
TBA Executive Director, Greg Garrison, highlights our new Backcountry Tips and Etiquette, along with other practical tips for keeping the trails manageable this coming season in a December 8, SFGate.com article. Click here to read the full article.
Winter Wildlands Alliance and the Tahoe Backcountry Alliance have teamed up with Tahoe Mountain Sports to virtually screen the 2020-2021 Backcountry Film Fest! CLICK HERE to download the festival and build the stoke for the coming season!
Your donations benefit TBA and our efforts to preserve access to and continue our stewardship of the human-powered experience in the Tahoe Backcountry. Thanks for your support!
Enjoy the films and think snow!