USFS improving roads on South Shore

Construction is under way to improve a section of Fountain Place Road at Saxon Creek off Pioneer Trail near South Lake Tahoe. 

Federal contractors supported by U.S. Forest Service Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit construction crews are working to replace the existing 6-foot culvert with a 30-foot bridge and improve access by removing trees, patching asphalt, constructing infiltration basins and installing an 18-inch culvert. 

A detour around the construction area will be maintained for bicycle and pedestrian traffic, but the section of road under construction is closed to vehicles until the project is finished.  The upper section may be accessed from Powerline Road to Saxon Tie Road.

Work is expected to be completed by mid-October.

Free USFS ranger hikes at Heavenly

The U.S. Forest Service Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit and Heavenly Mountain Resort are offering ranger led hikes every day at 11am and 1pm.

While the hike is free, it does require paying for the gondola ride. The hikes start from the top of the gondola.

They last about 90 minutes and are moderately difficult.

Wear closed toed shoes and bring water. No reservations are required and attendance is on a first-come, first-served basis. 

For more information, contact Jaclyn Tain at 530.543.2730 or email

Natalie Gulbis withdraws from celebrity golf tournament

By Angel Guerrero, Sacramento Bee

Natalie Gulbis withdrew her name Sunday from the American Century Championship due to an undisclosed family emergency, according to a tournament spokesman.

Gulbis, a Sacramento native who was on the comeback trail after a third back surgery, made the cut in an LPGA tournament for the first time since 2015 in April. She has failed to make the cut in her last four tournaments.

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Eldorado Forest to implement fire restrictions

Fire restrictions go into effect on the Eldorado National Forest on July 14.

Wood and charcoal fires will be restricted to designated recreation sites and other fire related activities will be prohibited until the end of fire season. Gas or propane fires are allowed with a free 2018 California campfire permit. 

Fire restrictions mean:

  • No wood or charcoal fires are allowed outside of exempted recreation sites even with a valid campfire permit.  
  • No smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle, building or exempted recreation site.
  • Operating a welding or other torch with an open flame is prohibited.
  • Operating an internal combustion engine without a properly operating spark arrestor is prohibited.
  • Lanterns and portable stoves using gas, kerosene, jellied petroleum or pressurized liquid fuel are allowed with a valid permit.
  • Those with a valid 2018 wood cutting permit may cut firewood in compliance with the terms of their permit.
  • Motor vehicles are allowed only on designated National Forest System roads, routes, trails and areas.

Questions may be directed to 530.622.5061.

Changing climate at Mono Lake could mean more dust storms

By Louis Sahagun, Los Angeles Times

Climate change is bringing less snow to the Sierra Nevada mountains — and less snowmelt to Mono Lake. That means if Los Angeles keeps taking its allocated share of water feeding into Mono Lake, it might be responsible for dust kicking up off the drying shore, authorities in the Eastern Sierra
When dust storms began rising off the dry bed of Owens Lake, authorities in the Eastern Sierra blamed Los Angeles’ thirst. The city had, after all, drained the lake in the 1920s to serve its faucets.

Now, as dust kicks up from Mono Lake, authorities in the Eastern Sierra are once again blaming that water-craving metropolis about 350 miles to the south.

But this time, they’re also blaming climate change.

Since 1994, a landmark State Water Resources Control Board decision has capped L.A.’s diversions of the streams that feed Mono Lake, defusing for a time one of California’s most protracted environmental battles.
Scientists say climatic shifts, however, are bringing less snow to the Sierra Nevada and less snowmelt to Mono Lake.

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Bike challenge riders rack up miles, trips

During the first two weeks of June, participants in the 13th annual Lake Tahoe Bike Challenge traveled 11,215 miles on foot or on bicycle, burning an estimated 482,245 calories and preventing an estimated 12,105 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions and $2,493 in gasoline purchases.

Organized by the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency and Lake Tahoe Bicycle Coalition, the basinwide Bike Challenge is a friendly competition to see who could rack up the most trips and miles by biking, walking, or taking transit instead of driving cars.

Vincent Benoit, of South Lake Tahoe, won the individual challenge for both trips and miles, reporting 49 trips and 376 miles. South Tahoe Refuse and Recycling won the team challenge for most trips with 259, and El Dorado County Department of Transportation and El Dorado County Library won the team challenge for most trips per employee, with 32 trips per employee.

Individual winners (Most Miles)

First – Vincent Benoit, 376 miles

Second – Kevin Willitts, 375.2 miles

Third – Bob Buckholz, 350.06 miles

Individual winners (Most Trips)

First – Vincent Benoit, 49 trips

Second – Carlie Teague, 38 trips

Third – April Grothe, 32 trips

Team challenge winners (Most Trips)

First – South Tahoe Refuse and Recycling, 259 trips

Second – Lake Tahoe Community College, 252 trips

Third – League to Save Lake Tahoe, 250 trips

Team challenge winners (Most Trips Per Employee)

First – El Dorado County Department of Transportation/Library, 32.33 trips per employee

Second – Tahoe Telecommuters, 17.57 trips per employee

Third – Lake Tahoe Community College, 14.82 trips per employee.

Lake Tahoe schools also participated in the Bike Challenge, with 813 students participating in Bike to School Week. All participating students received safety bike bells, bike lights, reflective slap bands, and instruction on how to maintain and safely ride their bicycles.

Bijou Community School – 351 students

South Tahoe Middle School – 169 students

Lake Tahoe Environmental Magnet School – 112 students

North Tahoe Middle School – 67 students

Sierra House Elementary School – 60 students

Tahoe Valley Elementary School – 54 students.

Forni Meadows now part of Eldorado Forest

The Eldorado National Forest recently purchased Forni Meadows, adding 835-acres of ecologically valuable and historically significant land to an area adjacent to Desolation Wilderness.

The $3 million purchase was facilitated by the Trust for Public Land with funding primarily from the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). LWCF is a federal program which uses revenue from oil and gas leases for conservation.
This high-elevation property features views of Pyramid Peak and contains approximately 250 acres of meadows and wetlands, breeding populations of the endangered Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frog, two miles of streams, and a small pond. It also provides potential habitat for other sensitive species such as the California wolverine, the Sierra Nevada red fox, the northern goshawk, and the American marten. The large size of Upper Forni Meadow (over 100 acres) is uncommon on the west side of the northern and central Sierra.
The Forni Meadows property includes the historic Forni Ranch which was homesteaded by the Forni family in the 1880s and was used as a summer cow camp.  The ranch contains the original cabin built in 1862, as well as other cabins and two barns. The cow camp is expected to be eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.
Forni Meadows is located north of Highway 50 and south of Lyons Creek Trail near Strawberry and is surrounded by National Forest System lands. There are currently no trails into Forni Meadows. However, the public can hike into this area along 4½ miles of primitive service roads which are closed to public vehicle access.

Ditching your phone will change how you recreate

By Aaron Gulley, Outside

Guide apps and GPS tools can be vital for off-grid adventures. But relying on them too heavily means we miss out on hidden gems that aren’t online.

The first time my wife, Jen, and I brought Artemis the Airstream to Gold Canyon, Arizona, a retirement community pressed up against the Superstition Mountains southeast of Phoenix, I wanted to leave almost the moment I arrived. The problem wasn’t the camping: We had found a pretty, tucked-away site on state trust land where we happily could stay the full allowable two weeks. But at the time, I was training for a mountain bike race, and that first night, when I looked on my favorite online sources for trails in the area (Strava, MTB Project, Trailforks), I could find just one lonely, short piece of singletrack, which would never suffice.

“Let’s not unhitch,” I implored Jen. “We can leave early tomorrow and find something better.”

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Dockless bikes generating loads of newfound data

By Enrique Gili, Sierra

This past spring, clusters of brightly colored dockless shared bikes (DSBs) began to proliferate on San Diego’s city sidewalks like tulips after a spring rain. They were put there by companies—such as Lime, Ofo, and Mobike—seeking to disrupt the status quo of California’s omnipresent car culture. As a result, thousands of DSBs ended up scattered around commercial districts and residential neighborhoods.

Dozens of markets—from major metropolitan cities like Minneapolis and Dallas to college campuses like Arkansas State University to South Lake Tahoe—have similarly bike-strewn landscapes as a result of the DSB wave, which added 44,000 bikes to U.S. streets in 2017.

The companies behind DSBs are united in their eagerness to capitalize on the so-called sharing economy (which has exploded since the dawn of Uber and Airbnb) by changing the way people travel and commute.

Yet for all the well-documented controversy surrounding DSBs, one overlooked aspect is the rivers of data their systems generate. Since each bike is equipped with sensors, and each cyclist carries a GPS-enabled smartphone, any given fleet of DSBs is collecting multiple terabytes of user information.

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When sports betting is legal, the value of game data soars

By James Glanz and Agustin Armendariz, New York Times

Every weekend during soccer season in Britain, security personnel find them in stadiums, tapping furiously at their phones or talking nonstop into a mic, mysterious customers often wearing hoodies to conceal earpieces and their identity. While focused with unwavering intensity on the action of the game, they show none of the engagement and excitement of the ordinary fans around them.

The unofficial data scouts — or data thieves, depending on who is describing them — are quickly ejected once they are discovered.

The fleeting data they are collecting — the minutia of what is happening in the game — is the lifeblood of sports betting, perhaps the most crucial and valuable element of the entire industry. If gambling operators are to monetize sports betting fully, they have to offer wagers on far more than the outcomes of games. Data on the second-by-second action — exactly when a goal is scored, where it landed in the net, who had the assist — creates manifold betting opportunities.

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