Lake Tahoe is known for its beautiful panoramic views, great skiing, and the clarity and cleanliness of its water, and the locals are especially particular about that last part.
About 53,000 permanent residents live around Lake Tahoe, and over three million people visit the lake each year. On the one hand, this influx of people brings much-needed tourism dollars to the community. On the other hand, it also brings more trash, leading to the declining clarity and cleanliness of the lake.
There was one apparent thing; this lake was not going to clean itself. Luckily, scuba diver Colin West decided to start up his nonprofit “Clean Up The Lake.” So far, Clean Up The Lake has collected over 9000 pounds of trash since its conception in 2018. According to their website, they have cleaned up in Belize, Donner Lake, and now their biggest challenge: Lake Tahoe. Their 72-mile campaign has gained lots of traction as the nonprofit partnered with Tahoe Blue Vodka and received a huge boost of nearly $25,000 from Vail Resorts.
Recently, members of the Clean Up The Lake nonprofit pulled out over 5000 pounds of garbage out of Lake Tahoe’s 0–25-foot zone. This is part of the nonprofit’s 72-mile project to clean up the entire rim of the lake. Dive crews scour the lake floor mile by mile finding all types of garbage, from fishing hooks, beer bottles, and cans, all the way to tires and full-blown cinder blocks.
The project started in Mid-May and will stretch out to November right before the water becomes too cold to dive in. So far, they have completed 12 miles, and they have 60 miles to go. They hope to have completed all 72 miles by the time November comes around.