SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, CALIF. – Visitor services and interpretive programs at the Taylor Creek Visitor Center in South Lake Tahoe, California, have been canceled through the end of October. The U.S. Forest Service Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit said it made the decision due to safety concerns amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The safety of our visitors and employees remains our highest priority,” said Acting Forest Supervisor, Danelle D. Harrison. “Increased forest visitation has tested our obligation to promote safe and responsible recreation practices, including social distancing and avoiding group gatherings.”
The cancellations include the second- and third-grade conservation education field trips and the Fall Fish Festival, which typically attracts nearly 12,000 visitors over a weekend.
During the closure the USFS will work on improvements in the area, including a watershed restoration project officials say will improve access and safety of the Rainbow Trail.
“Over the years, flooding due to expanded beaver activity on the trail has been a concern for Taylor Creek visitors and staff,” a statement noted.
The project will reroute about 600 feet of existing trail out of sensitive wetland areas and extend a section of elevated boardwalk. Some temporary trail closures may take effect, but officials say viewing platforms near Taylor Creek and the majority of the trail will remain open during trail work.
“This trail improvement project will address those concerns,” said Public Services Staff Officer, Daniel Cressy. “The project is designed to reduce impacts to the heavily visited and beloved Rainbow Trail, while protecting wildlife in the area to ensure the trail remains viable for the enjoyment of visitors in the years to come.”
Work on the Rainbow Trail is expected to continue through September 2020.