High Sierra landscapes don't get better than this. But this is a view few have had of Incline Lake. Most of us have only glimpsed briefly through the trees as we descended into Tahoe along the Mount Rose Highway. It has been for more than 70 years a private retreat.
The lake itself was built by Norman Biltz, millionaire, tireless promoter of the Silver State when it needed it most and it must be said a pivotal figure in Nevada history. He invited the rich and influential to join him here and many did. A list of those who owned a piece of this Sierra paradise or visited includes local figures like Wilbur May and Bill Lear as well as senators, supreme court justices and Hollywood figures. Fireside conversations here guided politics and development of the state for decades. These days it hosts members of the Incline Lake corporation...many of them descendants of the original owners...they are about to share it with the rest of us. Norm Nash is Norman Biltz' grandson. He says his grandfather would approve.
Senator John Ensign says he wants to see that happen and soon. Ironically it will be urban growth at the other end of the state that makes it possible. Under the Southern Nevada Public Land Management Act which he co-authored...public land is sold there allowing Las Vegas to grow and the proceeds are used for purchases like this. It's been used before, but Ensign says this purchase is special.
There are already a lot of plans for Incline Lake and its surroundings. A park, fishing, hiking, a nature trail, even an observatory for students already on the property. But it's not a done deal. Others in Washington have had designs on these funds in the past, so Ensign wants to move quickly. The transfer will involve a lot of agencies and interests. He cautioned them all today to work toward a common goal.
So if all goes as planned in a year or so, this view, this piece of the Tahoe Basin could be in public hands.