unedited 12/08 tahoe mt. news story
By Kathryn Reed
Progress is being made on what to do about restoring the Upper Truckee River through Washoe Meadow State Park, but not enough to alter the 2009 season at Lake Tahoe Golf Course.
The concessionaire contract that expires March 31, 2009, will change to a month-to-month lease at that time. These contracts are usually for 20 years, so it doesn’t make sense to sign a long-term deal without knowing what the future may hold.
“We are leasing out to American Golf for the golf season and we will revisit that after we get a little farther in the EIR process,” said Cindy Walck, with the state park.
Holly McCulloch, event sales manager with Lake Tahoe Golf Course, said weddings are already booked for next summer.
The environmental document is expected to be released in the spring, at which time the public will have time to comment on it. If the state decides to restore the river, altering the golf course is a strong possibility.
Money is an overriding concern – in terms of costs to do the project and the money generated from the 18-hole course in Meyers.
One alternative is to do nothing. Another is to not change the links. Another is to keep it 18 holes, but reconfigure it. Other options are making it nine holes.
An economic feasibility study was done to see how the numbers play out if the golf course were to change. Three of the four nine-hole options would lose money. Right now the 18-hole course is one of California State Parks’ biggest sources of revenue.
The study said if the golf course were decommissioned, it would equate to annual loss of $881,000 to State Parks. Loss to the local economy would be $2 million a year.
Walck stresses that no decision has been made and that her department is doing everything it can to maintain the course, while also keeping trails in the park open.
For more information, go to www.restoreuppertruckee.net.