Leave Only Footprints

In our new "Leave Only Footprints" series of articles and tips, the Incline Village General Improvement District strives to help educate our local and visitor communities about sustainability measures and expectations to keep our natural environment pristine.

Lake Tahoe Traveler Responsibility Pledge logoTo protect and preserve vulnerable ecosystems and residential communities, regional visitor bureaus and other community partners have joined forces to focus on educational tactics that reinforce the importance of mindful, responsible travel. 

The Traveler Responsibility Pledge was developed so residents and visitors can enjoy the unique culture and natural beauty of our region responsibly.

“Tourists and hotel guests and their destination decisions play a huge part in the sustainability of our region,” said Madonna Dunbar, Resource Conservationist for IVGID and Executive Director of the Tahoe Water Suppliers Association. “Tahoe residents and guests can become environmental stewards, offering contributions towards making Tahoe a clean destination for this millennium and the next.” 

As Lake Tahoe has always been a popular destination and as more people continue to visit or call the Sierra home, it is important for everyone to acknowledge the community's expectations to leave it better than they found it.
Designed to offer specific actions that visitors and residents can take to help protect Lake Tahoe, local wildlife and the environment, the new Traveler Responsibility Pledge is composed of six tenets that align with primary sustainability initiatives of the region. 

1. Become a Steward of Lake Tahoe
Commit to exploring the Lake Tahoe region responsibly and help preserve our treasured spaces by leaving them better than you found them. Adhere to instructions and signage, rules are in place for your safety and the wellbeing of our environment. Lend a hand during one of our community clean-up days and volunteer through North Lake Tahoe’s Ambassador program. Think like a local! Ride public transportation and support small businesses and events.

2. Respect the Environment
Do your part to preserve North Lake Tahoe’s natural beauty. Make sure to leave no trace by packing out what you brought in. Dispose of trash in designated receptacles, stay on trails so you don’t disturb the landscape and be mindful of your actions (and your pets!) to reduce your ecological footprint. Say no to plastic and bring your own reusable water bottle (and utensils!). Tahoe Tap is the best way to stay hydrated. 

3. Stay Educated
Check weather conditions and operational modifications by state ahead of your visit and prepare in advance for outdoor experiences you plan to partake in to stay safe. Check out the “Know Before You Go” informational guides on GoTahoeNorth.com for travel tips, itinerary recommendations, safety protocols and more. Sign up for county and state text alerts and stay connected to travel advisories and emergency updates while you’re here.

4. Keep Wildlife Wild
Observe wildlife from a respectful distance to ensure their safety (and yours) and never feed wildlife. Feeding wildlife can be as direct as offering a bit of your lunch, to leaving your food or garbage exposed for animals to find. It may take just one experience for an animal to learn people = food. Wild animals depend on natural behavior for survival. Once a wild animal becomes food-conditioned it loses its natural fear of people and public places. Not feeding wild animals keeps you safe and the wildlife wild.

5. Be Fire Safe
Get prepared, informed and involved! Consult fire restrictions before lighting a campfire or starting a grill and know the permitting rules ahead of burning anything outdoors. Fireworks are not permitted in the Lake Tahoe Basin, and when cooking outdoors, plan on propane or gas. When using charcoal or wood in approved areas, be sure to soak, stir and feel the ashes before disposing. Please maintain your vigilance and be prepared in the event of an emergency. Sign up for county and state text alerts and stay connected to travel advisories and emergency updates while you’re here.

6. Demonstrate Mindful Travel
Kindness goes a long way in our community. Locally-owned businesses appreciate your patience and commitment to following health and safety protocols in their establishments. If an outdoor area looks too crowded, move on and explore a new location. Speak kindly to people you encounter on public lands and remember to be a good neighbor by keeping noise down and parking in designated areas. If you aren’t feeling well, please stay home. Travel with awareness and observe the impact of your actions – it takes all of us working together to create a healthy and positive Tahoe experience.

The pledge outlines actions we can all do to reduce travel related impacts. More information is available at www.gotahoenorth.com/Sustainable-Travel-Pledge/