All images are courtesy of Ming Poon Photography.
This post is part of our Faces of Aegis series! We're spotlighting our clients, the people and businesses who are making an impact in our Tahoe-Truckee community and beyond! Read more of our client spotlights here.
This post was updated in December 2021 to reflect The Tahoe Backcountry Alliance’s most recent projects.
The Tahoe area is home to breathtaking public land offering miles and miles of hiking, biking, snowshoeing, cross country skiing, and more. However, once winter weather rolls in, these lands aren’t always accessible. This can lead to beautiful trails going unused, or people parking illegally in an attempt to access their favorite spots.
The Tahoe Backcountry Alliance, an Aegis client, is fighting to change that. We sat down to chat with Executive Director Greg Garrison to discuss the organization's important mission.
4 Questions for The Tahoe Backcountry Alliance
What is the Tahoe Backcountry Alliance?
The Tahoe Backcountry Alliance is a nonprofit organization based here in the Tahoe Basin. For five years they have worked to improve winter access to public lands for human-powered recreation, including backcountry skiing, snowboarders, snowshoers, cross-country skiers, etc.
The organization advocates for resource allocation for trailheads and coordinates with other nonprofits in the Tahoe Basin to support education, public service announcements, safety in the backcountry, and more.
Their local partners include:
What inspired the founding of the Tahoe Backcountry Alliance?
Executive Director Greg Garrison shares the organization's origin story, rooted in a cause dear to the hearts of many Tahoe residents.
"Lake Tahoe is a cherished resource, and the degradation of its water quality has been going on for quite some time. The clarity has gone down, and there's a lot of attention being paid to that. Part of the outcome of that attention was a CalTrans project on Highway 89 to eliminate roadside parking that was contributing to silt and dirt entering Lake Tahoe from runoff.
However, in eliminating roadside parking, the project also started to eliminate access to some popular trailheads. All of a sudden a prized peak like Jake's Peak, which is not only a local favorite here in the Basin but also brings people in from all over the state and country, no longer has public parking.
At that time there wasn't an organization that the backcountry community could use as a voice. That was the genesis of the Tahoe Backcountry Alliance. We successfully advocated for parking spaces to be created for Jake's Peak."
What is the Backcountry Alliance working on now?
Tahoe Backcountry Safety Awareness Week
This year, the Tahoe Backcountry Alliance is co-sponsoring Tahoe Backcountry Safety Awareness Week with Take Care Tahoe! Tahoe Backcountry Safety Awareness Week runs from December 14th through December 18th.
Sign up here for a week of virtual instruction designed to help you fine-tune your skills to safely recreate in the backcountry.
Avalanche Beacon Checkers
The Tahoe Backcountry Alliance is also working with Tahoe Backcountry Ski Patrol to install Avalanche Beacon Checkers at key trailheads within the Tahoe Backcountry.
Avalanche beacons are an integral part of any safe backcountry kit and beacon checkers help ensure that everyone in your group has a beacon that is turned on and ready to go.
What's the best way to support the Backcountry Alliance?
Residents and visitors in the Tahoe Basin can help out by connecting the Backcountry Alliance with more opportunities to improve backcountry trail access. Reach out on their website if:
- You know of an area that needs a trailhead
- A trail isn't getting the attention it deserves
- You're a homeowner struggling with illegal parking
Donate or Volunteer
Interested in doing more? You can also get involved by donating or volunteering!
Greg emphasizes "We're a young organization, all the funding we receive is appreciated and goes right back into projects and programs that we have going on."
Learn how you can get involved with this incredible organization on their website.