RENO, Nev (KOLO) The Lake Tahoe landscape is courtesy of Mother Nature. The viewing station to see it is thanks to the sale of Lake Tahoe specialty plates.
At Sand Harbor, environmental improvements are most likely taken for granted by visitors. But they didn't come cheap, and are made possible by these plates, which started being issued in 1997.
“So it was my former administrator Pam Wilcox who, you know, gazed across the lake, saw what California was doing, and she worked with the legislature and DMV to come up with the concept of a Lake Tahoe license plate,” says Charles Donohue, the state lands registrar administrator with the state of Nevada.
Since that time more than 19,000 plates have been in circulation.
A total of $8,000,000 dollars has been raised to help preserve Lake Tahoe. At Sand Harbor, alone that has meant a reconstruction of overlooks near the shore.
The main objective is keeping sand on the beach and out of the parking lots, where it can clog storm drains.
A boat ramp and kayak launch saw improvements in 2014. Bathrooms have been upgraded as well.
A unique project called "Take Care" uses stickers to display fun messages that address the serious undertones of littering and invasive species, among other things.
“Fun graphics, very inviting and the goal is just to get peoples' attention enough just to remind them to take care of Tahoe while they are here,” says Amy Berry, C.E.O of the Tahoe Fund.
Berry says her organization has been able to execute several projects at Lake Tahoe with the help of plate funding. The Tahoe Fund applies for those funds just like all other conservation groups interested in Lake Tahoe.
The ideas are selected by a group of for-profit and non-profit representatives and eventually awarded by Donohue.
While the plate is the third most popular specialty plate in Nevada, it's hoped with the retirement of the 150th Anniversary plate, the Tahoe plate will move into second place.
As an extra incentive to buy a Tahoe plate, the “Plate for Powder” promotion goes until April 1st. It means a free lift ticket to a participating area ski resort for those who buy a Tahoe plate now.