NORTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — Truckee and North Lake Tahoe regional officials have made the difficult decision to cancel the annual July 3 fireworks at Kings Beach, and the Fourth of July fireworks shows in Donner Lake, Truckee and Tahoe City. Canceled events include the Fourth of July parade, which encompasses the Firecracker Mile in Historic Downtown Truckee, and any other events that take place through July 4 in Truckee and North Lake Tahoe.
The decision was made in consultation with area partners and acknowledges that although Governor Gavin Newsom has announced the aim to move beyond the Blueprint for a Safer Economy as soon as June 15, he has also suggested that public health policies will need to be in place. The annual firework demonstrations bring thousands of visitors to the region in the days leading up to and during the holiday weekend. Officials hope these cancelations will reduce crowd concerns during an already busy time for the region.
The Fourth of July parade is produced by the Truckee Chamber of Commerce. Lynn Saunders, President and CEO Truckee Chamber of Commerce acknowledges that, “While the Board understands how important this community celebration is to all that enjoy it, at this point in time we felt it was premature to produce an event that historically draws a very large crowd and felt it was more responsible to err on the side of caution by canceling the parade this year.”
“Placer County acknowledges the many long-standing partners, supporters and sponsors who participate in our annual Fourth of July and seasonal events,” said District 5 Supervisor Cindy Gustafson. “There is no denying the pandemic has brought forward new challenges and opportunities for our region. As we navigate these challenges, we are taking a step back to allow our new mitigation programs to go into effect, as well as recommitting ourselves to being good stewards of the region.”
Challenges to outdoor destinations across the country have been on the rise during the COVID-19 pandemic. The region has been working on short-term and long-term solutions, while coordinating with local agencies, organizations and community members to discuss strategies and implement solutions. Partners have been seeking solution-driven policies that will help increase stewardship of the North Tahoe-Truckee region for visitors and residents.
In response to these challenges, jurisdictions have funded several solution-driven approaches. Taking a triage approach to increasing stewardship in the region, Placer County is working to address all areas of regional needs including implementing a new microtransit program in Placer County, road mobility, pedestrian crossing support, public transit incentives, trash mitigation, short-term rental ordinance updates and educational campaigns. This decision is in support of those broader efforts.
The Town of Truckee has also been mindful of these challenges in provisional and future planning within all levels of the organization and throughout every department, including increased staffing, new litter mitigation and stewardship positions and programs, reporting processes, trash capacity of compactors and services, parking and fire mitigation, preparedness and education.
“The Town is expecting and preparing for high visitation this summer, particularly as we expect to move along the blueprint to reopening, and while we are looking forward to reopening, we must be mindful of and continue to prioritize public health and community safety. It is through this lens and with the importance of our community’s health at the forefront, that we acknowledge the difficult decisions our community partners have made to cancel the Fourth of July celebrations,” said Town of Truckee Mayor Anna Klovstad.
Mayor Klovstad further added that, “We want to encourage our visitors to enjoy the adventure of being in Truckee and the surrounding area, with all of the natural beauty and opportunities to recreate, but along with the enjoyment, a responsibility to be good champions of our natural environment, to cherish and help us protect the very thing that brings people to our area – the natural land. The Town is working on programs and initiatives to help educate and support our visitors in being champions for our environment. What we do today will impact the future, from protecting Donner Lake to litter control and abatement, to wildfire education and preparedness, we all play a role in being good representatives of our land, of Truckee and the Tahoe region.”
Regional partners also support North Lake Tahoe’s newly launched Traveler Responsibility Pledge, which maps out a list of commitments for travelers and residents to empower people to leave the region better than they found it. The commitments include being stewards of the land, engaging in mindful travel, respecting the wildlife and environment, being fire safe and more. This is in addition to the Take Care Tahoe campaign and the Know Before You Go campaign that was launched last year in response to the pandemic. The Visit Truckee-Tahoe Stewardship Committee is another regional partner collaborating on balancing their actions for the well-being of our community with new programs and projects.
CEO Colleen Dalton explains, “With the high number of visitors and new residents we saw last summer, combined with a low snow year this winter, the VTT Stewardship Committee determined that a number of new sustainability projects, including a Trail Host Ambassador program, educational signage and accessible Apps will support our mission and our regional goal to protect, preserve, promote, and enhance our Truckee-Tahoe region.”
“In making this decision, the North Tahoe Business Association had to focus on both our business community and our local residents’ needs and desires. In order to make this decision for everyone we reviewed the lodging barometer for the holiday week/weekend and seeing that the numbers are ahead of last year not only for that weekend but the summer months so far we made an educated decision alongside our partners and other regional shows,” said North Tahoe Business Association executive director Alyssa Reilly. “We are able to pivot our efforts to continue to support our businesses for the holiday weekend and drive our visitors to their establishments and increase our local marketing and promo efforts to achieve that. NTBA is also planning to keep live music alive for 2021 summer through our music on the beach concert series. We are prepared for our virtual series and ready to pivot to live music at Kings Beach when state restrictions allow. We will be sure to keep our communities safety on the forefront in order to do so. 2021 fireworks cancellation was a tough decision for NTBA but we are prepared for 2022 when we can have a big and safe celebration.”
While it was a tough decision to not host the Tahoe City Fireworks show this year, there were many concerns related to both fundraising challenges and public safety regarding large gatherings,” said Kylee Bigelow, Tahoe City Downtown Association executive director. “We are currently planning to hold our 75th Diamond Anniversary Fireworks Celebration in 2022 and are excited to bring back this tradition when it is safe to do so. Please consider supporting our local businesses that are still recovering from months of COVID 19 closures this 4th of July weekend and all summer long. We very much look forward to bringing back large-scale events as allowed and are working with our partners and sponsors to do so. We are currently considering options for the return of Concerts at Commons Beach and Tahoe City Oktoberfest in 2021.”
Officials hope these cancelations will reduce crowd concerns with the ongoing pandemic and increase opportunities for ongoing education and implementation of the new mitigation programs.