Washoe Meadows Park may be integral to Meyers’ future


By Kathryn Reed

MEYERS – Meyers is an ideally situated spacious and walkable mountain community that values sustainability, health, wellness, and the natural environment. Uniquely concentrated with year-round outdoor sport and recreational opportunities, the Meyers mountain culture is the hallmark of our thriving local-based economy, boasting a diverse commercial and retail environment, welcoming visitors and providing residents with an extraordinary place to live, work, and play.

That is the recently adopted vision statement for Meyers. Those words lay the framework for this South Shore hamlet as it goes about putting itself on the map in a more definitive manner.

California State Parks may need to do an Historic Structure Report on the Celio barn in Washoe Meadows State Park. Photo/LTN file

Gone is the Meyers Roundtable; with Wednesday night being the last meeting. In its place will be the Meyers Advisory Council. The first meeting will be Aug. 15 at 6pm at Lake Valley firehouse on Highway 89. At that meeting the council will be appointed and work officially begins on developing the Meyers area plan. That will be an official document that will ultimately need approval by the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency.

Part of that plan will include Washoe Meadows State Park and Lake Valley Recreation Area. The latter is better known as the home of Lake Tahoe Golf Course.

“We want to help the community be a recreation hub. Our park is right in the middle of this recreation hub,” Steve Musillami, chief of the State Parks Planning Division, told the more than 30 people at the July 25 meeting.

Most of Wednesday’s meeting was about the future of the state park and golf course.

While a lawsuit regarding the reclassification of the land and CEQA irregularities is still tied up in the legal process, the State Parks people carried on as though that did not matter. When asked about it, they said they were not at liberty to talk about it.

In January, the California State Park and Recreation commissioners upheld their earlier decision to swap land between the adjoining park and recreation area in order to allow for the golf course to remain 18 holes after the Upper Truckee River is restored.

Musillami spoke about how 100 percent of the golf course is now in a stream environmental zone, that 6,200 linear feet of the course are along the river and 850 would be when reconfigured if they do what they want, and that the boundary of the course would shrink. The latter means fewer holes are likely to be on what locals still consider to be State Parks land.

The state has money to design how the Upper Truckee River would meander. (That can’t go forward until the lawsuit is resolved.) Money for the first phase of trail improvements is also in hand.

Parks officials are on a year-to-year agreement with American Golf Corporation to operate the golf course. The concessionaire contract will eventually go out to bid with the presumption whatever company is selected will foot the bill to change the golf course to accommodate the river restoration. The parks department could put all sorts of criteria into the request for proposal – like different winter activities must be offered or the clubhouse could be more than it is today.

This golf course at one time was touted as being the No. 3 money generator for the State Parks system. On Wednesday it was said to be No. 5, making about $600,000 in the last year. The agency’s website shows it at No. 50 with revenue of $503,998 in 2010-11.

“People know the golf course, but not what is behind it,” Musillami said. “We don’t want to have a park out there that no one visits.”

That is why his agency wants to be part of the Meyers plan.

But the state agency has some work to do. In the next month or two folks in Sacramento will decide what level of planning document to create for Washoe Meadows – a general plan would be the most extensive or it could be something much less. Each comes with different levels of environmental review.

No matter what the planning process, plenty of meeting attendees voiced their opinions about what they would like to see the area evolve into.

Daunelle Wulstein and others want to make sure equestrians still have trails to ride on and bridges that are safe for their horses to cross. Norma Santiago spoke for several people in asking for the future concessionaire to offer more than golf – to be a center that involves biking, kayaking and more than snowmobiling when it snows. Some talked about refurbishing the Celio barn; maybe even making it a destination for diners on cross country skis or snowshoes. Lynne Paulson wants biking and hiking trails by the river and not the golf course. Kristi Boosman wants fertilizer use to be reduced. Sue Novasel was not alone in wanting mountain bike trails to be plentiful. Rene Brejc wants the Meyers commercial corridor to link to the park.






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Comments (9)
  1. Frank says - Posted: July 26, 2012

    who will appoint the advisory council? will it be elected council? sounds like these folks will have ability to impact the vision for the area for years to come. Who is funding the development of the plan? sounds like the precursor to becoming a city or Norma’s trying to make this some kind thing for herself

  2. Art says - Posted: July 26, 2012

    Does it not make sense to resolve the relocation or elimination of the golf course issue before moving forward with an advisory council?

  3. John says - Posted: July 26, 2012

    Art, no it does not make sense. Yes the golf course is one issue, but the advisory council is making a plan for all of Meyers. But lets just incorrectly assume they will only deal with the golf course, then they need to come up with contingencies depending on how the litigation comes out. Its called planning, it is useful.

  4. Lisa says - Posted: July 26, 2012

    To the State Parks system: Perhaps people would use it more if you actually put up even a single sign on the road, or on a trailhead or heck anywhere saying the the park exists and how to access it. So far the only sign is the one you spent thousands on to show where the golf course entrance is… You know, the one that already had a sign!
    Please be honest, all you really want is an expanded golf course the encroaches on to the meadow.

  5. John says - Posted: July 26, 2012

    Lisa words have meaning. Expanded golf course would mean the golf course would have more holes. The proposal would maintain what already exists. That is not expansion. Second, the golf course is in a meadow, and would be removed from the SEZ. So “encroaches on the meadow” would seem to mean that an increasing area of meadow would be impacted by the golf course. The TRUTH is that the golf course would be removed from the riparian corridor.

    You anti-golf people would be well served by telling the truth.

  6. Lisa says - Posted: July 26, 2012

    John removing a golf course from a place it should never have been and putting into another place it should never be, is merely compounding the situation. It is an expansion into an existing State Park area that they had to reclassified or they could never have put it there by law. It is indeed an expansion into the state park. All this for a sport that is shrinking in popularity. Shrinking to the point that golf course designers (including Jack Nickolas) have been looking for creative ways to invigorate the sport and are doing so by advocating the building of non- traditional courses, especially 12 hole ones.

  7. Skier says - Posted: July 26, 2012

    The golf course is there and provides jobs and recreation. Two things this community desperately needs… Removing a portion of it would be like cutting off our nose to spite our face. C’mon enviros, you need some balance. Lets leave whats there and improve the river corridor to prevent further erosion. Duhhhhhh.

  8. John says - Posted: July 26, 2012

    Lisa, I am not a golfer, and I think there are probably more important projects for Tahoe. Probably they should put a couple grand worth of rip rap on the river banks and call it good. But, the anit-golf groups have been so dishonest with their appeals that now me and others are strongly against them. Like your definition of expansion. The golf course is not being expanded, but okay, if you create a distinction between parcel numbers that nobody cares about then okay, its an expansion. National golf stats dont apply to Tahoe. I dont know what the golf stats are for that course. I do know it is at least dishonest to apply those stats to a single golf course in Lake Tahoe. I wont get into the migratory animal thing because it is so laughable. The anti-golf crowd would be well served by being even a little honest from time to time.

  9. Lisa says - Posted: July 26, 2012

    You can accuse me of dishonesty all you want and it won’t make it true. I have no problem with golf, just expanding it on the west side of the river. I am thrilled about the idea of the river restoration occuring, but not as an excuse to move the golf course. Even in their own presentation the state parks said it was ” at one tiime ” the third largest revenue producer, but say it is now 6th while their own website says it is 50th… Which is it 6th or 50th? You say that national stats don’t apply to Tahoe and in your next breath you say you don’t know what the numbers are and yet you are sure they are different. However I do know the stats. The revenue from this course has steadily declined since the mid 2000s, consistent with the national decline. Scientists from UC Davis in 1984 noted when the park was created that this area had high conservation value and that is why the land was purchased. Scientists from UC Davis, UC Kelley and UNR have noted the same thing again this year. this only about golf on the west side of the river, he community is fine with golf remaining on the east side. Had I called those against golf on the west side as “anti-golf” I have a feeling you would have accused me of dishonesty.