Why Tahoe officials closed 2 boat ramps and are concerned for the summer season

California

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. (KTXL) – A May snowstorm has people bundled up in Tahoe Thursday, but the signs are pointing to concerns for much warmer days in the coming months, specifically on the lake itself.

“The Tahoe Vista boat ramp will not be open to motorized vessels for the 2021 boating season, unfortunately,” said Justin Broglio with the North Tahoe Public Utility District.

Around the same time South Lake Tahoe shut down its boat ramp at El Dorado Beach, the North Tahoe Public Utility District did the same at its Tahoe Vista boat ramp.

The prediction from officials: an extreme drop in water levels in Lake Tahoe.

“Once it gets down to about 10 to 12 inches, that’s pretty low clearance to any normal boat,” Broglio explained.

Data from the United States Geological Survey shows lake levels sitting at about 2 feet less than this time last May, but the anticipation after a bad snow season is that levels could drop to those seen years ago during the last drought.

The closure of a couple of boat ramps could easily have a ripple effect for those looking to take their boats onto the lake this summer.

“There are six public launches at Lake Tahoe, and two are going to be shut down because of low water. So, you do the math. There’s four left,” said Jesse Patterson with Keep Tahoe Blue.

Patterson expects boating on Lake Tahoe to be very popular in the coming month, especially after a year-and-a-half of people dealing with the pandemic.

Visitors can expect long lines with fewer boat ramp choices. 

“Yeah, there is going to be less options, so get here early think ahead. Maybe this is a good year to rent a boat up here instead of bringing your own,” Patterson explained.

Keep Tahoe Blue has a boating app that allows you to find the safest places to enter your boat into the water.

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