Boots On The Ground, Restoration Begins at Sierra-at-Tahoe
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, California. – July 6, 2022 Thorough planning has taken place and will continue over the next several months across Sierra-at-Tahoe, Eldorado National Forest, El Dorado Resource Conservations District and El Dorado County to build a comprehensive plan of execution.
“Meticulous planning and extensive prework has taken place over the last several months to understand the scope of damage from the Caldor Fire,” says El Dorado District Manager Mark Egbert. “We feel confident the restoration plan developed will put us in the best position to reach the goal of a full opening of the current trail network this season.”
Atlas Tree based locally in Santa Rosa, California has been awarded the bid to lead efforts on tree removal and mitigation. With approximately 30 members of Atlas Tree’s team arriving at Sierra with skidders, chippers, grinders, helicopters, fallers, and swampers in their arsenal, they have set their goal to complete Phase I of the mitigation project by early November.
“We are thrilled to partner with Atlas Tree to help us get back on our feet,” Sierra-at-Tahoe Mountain Operations Director Paul Beran says. “We have a common appreciation of the land, high standards for safety and will work carefully and swiftly to get the job done.”
“We are honored to have been selected for this critical project to restore Sierra from the Caldor Fire. Many of our employees live in El Dorado County and grew up skiing at the Sierra-at-Tahoe Resort. Our goal is to ensure the utilization of this burned timber to create a positive economic impact to the local community. Nearly 20 million board feet of salvageable timber will be transported to a nearby sawmill. At peak operations we are expecting upwards of 30 to 40 loads of logs to be transported daily,” says Tyler Willis, Atlas Tree’s Director of Forest Management.
The generous contributions made from the community through the El Dorado Community Foundation, the USFS and Cal Fire will be allocated towards funding for this project. Planning is underway starting with the highest elevation areas first- including Sierra-at-Tahoe and Grizzly Flats before addressing other areas impacted by the fire.Sierra-at-Tahoe is only part of a larger Caldor Fire footprint, that includes post-fire restoration actions underway in the community of Omo Ranch, Happy Valley and the Highway 50 corridor.
Prior to breaking ground, soil health testing and land surveying was completed to assess the full scope of damage and determine remediation plans. Cultural, botanical, geological and archeological sites have been flagged by the US Forest Service to ensure these areas will be avoided.
Working towards the goal of a full reopening of the 46-trail network for the 2022/23 winter season, the first of three phases began this week, which focuses restoration efforts in the West Bowl area of the resort where the fire had the most impact. Tree removal and installation of new haul ropes are in motion, with Atlas Tree focusing on tree mitigation while the Sierra team tackles splicing new haul ropes for the West Bowl Express and Puma chairlifts. Removal of fire damaged trees along the existing trail system in the area will create a buffer of 150 feet around ski trails. Some of the fallen timber will be repurposed for use onsite or chipped to create insulation for the ski trails, assisting in maintaining the snowpack throughout the season.
While unknowns remain, optimism and excitement spans across the crews who will be restoring the mountain this summer. Redesign will happen with the guest experience top of mind, with the potential of new trails and bowls, and less congestion in traditionally crowded areas.
Please note, the resort is not open to the public until further notice.
Those looking to support remediation efforts can donate to The El Dorado Community Foundation
Play is the name of the game at Sierra-at-Tahoe, where 2,000 acres and 2,212 vertical feet of skiable terrain offer skiers + riders the freedom to explore their style at any level. With restoration efforts underway, after a season off due to damage sustained from the Caldor Fire, Sierra welcomes long-time loyalist and new friends back to explore. Whether it’s sending big mountain terrain via Huckleberry Canyon, carving down sunbathed groomers in West Bowl, learning a new trick in the Sierra Playgrounds or the exhilaration of making one’s first turns on Sierra’s Sculpted Learning Terrain, there is a new landscape and a place for you here, that is just waiting to be discovered. Welcome back to Sierra, #WherePlayReignsFree. For more information please visit, sierraattahoe.com.