Loving Lake Tahoe isn’t a difficult task. Loving it while you #StayHome however, is kind of like a punch in the stomach. This is especially true in these strange and troubling times, because the natural world isn’t just therapeutic—it’s one of the only things that feels reliable right now.
It’s easy to understand why the ask, nay, the plea to stay away from Tahoe is a bit difficult to swallow. But when the wager is the health of the people and places you love, not even an empty backcountry slope is worth the price. (Okay, we admit that’s a tough one. But c’mon people!)
While Lake Tahoe agencies may be asking that you physically stay away for now, we all hope that you will keep loving Tahoe from well, your couch. To help you do just that, we’ve put together a list of five amazing Lake Tahoe organizations that love the lake as much as you do.
Use that extra #StayHome time to browse their sites, learn about their causes, follow their social media pages or put the money that would otherwise be lost on the blackjack table to good use.
Let’s kick things off with what may be the best news you’ve received in weeks; your favorite vodka is a champion of Lake Tahoe preservation. That’s right, people. Every drink of Tahoe Blue Vodka makes you an environmental crusader as well.
But truly, Tahoe Blue donates a portion of its profits to organizations that care for its namesake lake. The purity of Tahoe’s waters are the cornerstone of the product, after all. If the commitment to local philanthropy wasn’t enough for you, Tahoe Blue Vodka has a parade of awards attesting to its quality. That list even includes a 2013 recognition as the ‘Best Unflavored Vodka in the World’ at the Ultimate Spirits Challenge in New York.
So, your quarantine dreams have come true. Pouring a Tahoe Blue Vodka cocktail means you made a difference today.
2. Tahoe Fund
In short, protecting and preserving everything in the Tahoe Basin is a part of Tahoe Fund’s mission. From the trees to the tourists; the rivers, beaches, trails and roads. Everything.
Remember that outlook over Taylor Creek where you watched a black bear catching salmon? The Tahoe Fund helped build it. The adorable do-good billboards inspiring you to Take Care of Tahoe? Tahoe Fund has a hand in that too. That top-liked Instagram photo you snapped from the new East Shore Trail? Tahoe Fund!
The breadth of their mission makes this nonprofit organization easy to love. Not only are they looking out for the health of the basin, they’re looking out for you too! They want you to hike, bike and boat your way around, through and over Lake Tahoe. (Just, you know, when the whole quarantine thing is over.)
In the meantime, you can read up on all the great stuff Tahoe Fund is doing on their website. Or, bring a bit of Tahoe to your next Zoom meeting. There’s so much happening with Tahoe Fund, it’s worth bookmarking their website so you can check back on the who, what, when and how you can help.
You’ve seen the bumper sticker, you’ve used the hashtag, but how much do you really know about all the amazing work Keep Tahoe Blue does?
At the core, the organization’s mission is pretty simple—to keep Lake Tahoe blue. Blue, in this case, being an all-encompassing term for clear, healthy, protected and sustainably managed for all measures of human recreation and enjoyment. Phew, that was a mouthful. But thus is their work.
From restoration to preservation, beach clean-ups to educational programs, they’re doing it all and then a little more. Battling invasive species, storm runoff, bits of plastic and even a quite unfriendly micro-shrimp are all part of a day’s work.
Feeling inspired? You can Be Blue too. From daily practices like saying “hell nah” to single use plastics, supporting the cause with a purchase of Keep Tahoe Blue gear, or keeping an eye out for upcoming volunteer programs, you can make a big difference.
If you didn’t already know ‘em, we’d like to introduce you to the Tahoe Area Mountain Biking Association, aka TAMBA, aka the savior of your two-wheeled adventures. Not only are they maintaining the trails you love, they’re constantly working to add new features that improve your ride.
Besides all the dirt slangin’ hard-work they do, these guys are just plain fun. If you’re into mountain biking—like at all—you’ll want to keep an eye on their events calendar. Once the snow (and virus?) melts, TAMBA celebrates with events like the Lake Tahoe Mountain Bike Festival, costumed rides and more.
Until then, you can study their online trail maps at home, review your trail etiquette or dig into weekly updates on their Facebook page. At the very least, you’ll know who to thank the next time you’re flowing through those Corral Trail whoops.
Since opening in 1978, Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care has helped rehabilitate over 15,000 furry & feathered locals. Injured or orphaned bear cubs, bobcats, eagles, owls and more have all benefited from the aid of this nonprofit organization.
The care center’s brand new, 27-acre facility offers forested enclosures, plenty of space, medical attention and an amazing staff. Yet still, critters don’t get to camp out here forever. Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care works to rehabilitate as many of their patients as possible, working to send them back to live a long, healthy life in the wild.
Of course, the first place our mind goes is—can we hold a baby bear? (No.) But! You can watch the care center’s bears frolic and play on their wildlife webcams or their Instagram page. Plus, the site makes a great resource when you’re in need of an uplifting story. Like this one about cute lil’ Chips.
So, you’ve got do-good vodka, baby raccoon videos and five great options for where to spend that stimulus check. We’ll leave you to it.