CTC Land Swap

Most people are probably familiar with the California Tahoe Conservancy (CTC). For almost 30 years, the CTC has purchased land on behalf of California’s public (with our taxes), protecting Lake Tahoe from development, and providing our communities with important open spaces.

Yet recently, the CTC has been focusing more and more on selling off some of their open space lands for profit. The CTC terms these lands “asset lands.” This change in CTC’s purpose, combined with the new TRPA Regional Plan, upcoming projects, and potential for major growth in Lake Tahoe, could collectively have major consequences for our environment and our unique, rural communities.

Although we often talk about land values in terms of dollars, the value to our communities of open space land is derived in various forms, including individual lots to acres of open space. It is a human value for living with the land, with the native vegetation, with ecosystem values, and a personal connection to nature. The nature of open space may provide larger views, will provide natural infiltration of stormwater runoff, and support iconic trees and native flowers. Undeveloped land takes up nutrients in many forms before they can settle and cause more algae growth in our nearshore, and provides climate change benefits.

There are many “CTC lots” along the West Shore

Here is the current map of CTC-owned lands along the West Shore (CTC 2013):

CTC image

Current and Potential CTC Asset Lands:

Although West Shore lots may not currently be categorized as “Asset Lands” for sale by the CTC, given the CTC’s new purpose, anything can change in the future. FOWS and other concerned conservation and community groups, residents, business owners, and elected officials met with the CTC to discuss these changes in January 2014. We followed up with this letter expressing our concerns about the CTC’s new plans to both sell existing open land, and to enter the ‘real estate market’ through purchasing existing built lands to sell the development rights.

Not only will this rob communities of the values provided by our open spaces, but it will also result in more development, not only on West Shore but throughout the entire Lake Tahoe Basin, that will harm our Basin’s fragile ecosystem. For more information read the CTC’s documents and maps on this subject, and we will do our best to keep you updated on the CTC’s proposed and designated asset lands and related matters.