Sled trash on Spooner Summit a growing problem around Lake Tahoe

Published: Apr. 4, 2021 at 6:46 PM PDT
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DOUGLAS COUNTY, Nev. (KOLO) - As the weather continues to get nicer and nicer, there might not be many more sled days left.

While the popular winter activity can be fun, sledding also has its problems.

“Spooner Summit continues to be a safety, environmental, and health nightmare every winter,” said Marilee Movius, Keep Tahoe Blue’s community engagement manager. “Hundreds of pounds of litter are left behind each week, and this is after people recreate.”

For years, volunteers with the initiative, Keep Tahoe Blue, have been coming to the unofficial sled hill on Spooner Summit to pick up trash. From pieces of broken sleds, to wrappers, it’s anyone’s guess as to what lies beneath the layers of snow - until it melts.

“I couldn’t tell you how many dirty diapers we find,” added Ongkar Khalsa, a Keep Tahoe Blue volunteer. “All those pieces of Styrofoam are micro-plastics start going down waterways and they make their way down to the lake which really damages the lake.”

In one day last year clean up crews picked up an estimated 2,000 pounds of trash from the hill in one day. There is no telling if the situation will get better because the area is not an official sledding site.

Keep Tahoe Blue had to create makeshift trash areas. The initiative isn’t the only group trying to make a difference. The hill itself is on U.S. Forest Service land. The parking lot is maintained by NDOT.

KOLO 8 News Now reached out to the U.S.F.S. for comment but have not heard back.

Meg Ragonese, with NDOT, did issue a statement It read, in part: “NDOT road maintenance staff removes trash from the parking area once a week.” The statement continued with, “litter removal is one of 100 maintenance tasks NDOT performs.”

It is unclear if dumpsters or recycling stations will be added to the sled hill. Both Keep Tahoe Blue and NDOT share the same sentiment: pick up after yourself, and others. It will drastically help preserve our area’s natural beauty.

To get involved with Keep Tahoe Blue, visit their website.

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