While the COVID-19 pandemic, the Caldor Fire, and other factors limited operations at the Taylor Creek Visitor Center and Tallac Historic Site in 2021, the USDA Forest Service Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit (LTBMU) and partners made notable progress toward improving public outreach and developing shared stewardship strategies. “As visitors return to these cherished shoreline sites in 2022, they will be greeted by new faces and improved infrastructure that will enhance their experience and guide their learning of Lake Tahoe’s natural resources and cultural heritage,” said LTBMU Public Services Staff Officer, Daniel Cressy.
The Rainbow Trail at the Taylor Creek Visitor Center, a highly used, accessible interpretative path, has undergone improvements to create a more sustainable alignment with the site’s wetland characteristics, including a newly constructed elevated boardwalk. Generous grants made available by the Great American Outdoors Act and more locally, the Tahoe Fund, as well as implementation through partners including the National Forest Foundation and Great Basin Institute have made new interpretative features available including a bilingual audio tour, a webcam system for Taylor Creek, and upgraded interpretative signage.
The Great Basin Institute (GBI), the LTBMU’s interpretive association partner for the Taylor Creek Visitor Center, will also provide additional resources through a recently awarded educational VISTA project which will build the Visitor Center’s capacity for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) educational programs. In partnership with the nearby Galena Creek Visitor Center at Mount Rose, VISTA project coordinators will facilitate inclusive K-12 students’ engagement in STEM disciplines to advance academic achievement and interest while building outdoor skills and confidence. Those interested in serving at the Taylor Creek Visitor Center as VISTA coordinators, through accredited environmental interpretation internships, or as volunteers should contact Rachel Durben, Development Manager, at email@example.com.
Just east of Taylor Creek, visitors will encounter ongoing transformations at the Tallac Historic Site as well. After several decades of site stewardship excellence, the Tahoe Heritage Foundation will transfer site operations to Great Basin Institute, though the Foundation will continue to provide advisory support to implement a well-coordinated strategy to advance historic preservation and public education programs at the National Register of Historic Places-listed Historic Site. To that end, the Institute will work with the LTBMU to mobilize a qualified workforce through a network of partnership resources to support a diverse suite of improvement projects. The Institute’s partnership with the national nonprofit HistoriCorps, will help guide the technical approaches for site assessment and restoration of the historic estates and related educational programs and displays.
HistoriCorps provides expertise to volunteers of all skill levels while they gain hands-on experience preserving historic structures on public lands across America. Previous GBI/HistoriCorps collaborations have led to successfully restored historic cabins at Joshua Tree and Great Basin National Parks and the Institute is excited to bring their talent and experience to preserve the Baldwin and Pope estates. Also, as many retired volunteers have been the heartbeat of the Tallac Site over the years, GBI seeks to engage volunteers with the added support of the AmeriCorps Seniors RSVP program, a national service platform that pairs thousands of Americans aged 55 and older with organizations making change in communities across the country. AmeriCorps Seniors volunteers who serve in the RSVP program choose how, where and when they want to serve with commitments ranging from a few hours to 40 hours per week. Starting in 2022, retired RSVP participants will join the cadre of exceptional Tallac Site volunteers, enhancing heritage interpretation and site stewardship. To find out more about benefits made available by RSVP, or to apply to volunteer at the Tallac Historic Site, please contact Jerry Keir, Executive Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We look forward to welcoming Tahoe’s residents and visitors back to the Galena Creek & Taylor Creek Visitor Centers and Tallac Historic Site in 2022!
Jerry Keir is the Executive Director for the Great Basin Institute, which serves at the Interpretive Association Partner for the Tallac Historic Site and the Galena & Taylor Creek Visitor Centers.