Our Home, Lake Tahoe: A Unique and Precious Resource


The majesty and unique beauty of Lake Tahoe and the surrounding mountains is unsurpassed. In an age when we are realizing we have let our children become walking phone zombies, we need to be aware of the precious natural resources around us. Not only to take measures to protect these spectacular spaces, but also, as a reminder to get outside and replenish our bodies, minds and spirits.

As we live near the lake and create art in this spectacular Sierra playground, we try to be mindful of all that makes it so special. The following are a few interesting facts and attributes we consider when we say, “We are proud and thankful to call Lake Tahoe Home.”

Water Clarity

The crystal clear blue/green water is almost unequaled anywhere in the world. There is nothing quite like summer hikes along Bliss trail near Emerald Bay with a swim break in one of the many turquoise colored coves. We’ve dubbed these soft, sandy spots with such translucent water, our “Caribbean Sierra.” As breathtaking as these coves are it must have really been something to see it in the 1880s. From, “Historical accounts indicate the water may have been as clear as 120 feet during that time.” In 1968, when scientific measurement of the lake’s clarity began, a person could see a white disk submerged to a depth of 100 feet. Currently, that same white disk can only be seen at 60 feet. Protecting the lake’s natural filtering systems is an ongoing struggle with increased development, human population and algal growth. Even with the clarity loss though, the lake has some of the purest water in the world; coming in at 99.994% pure. (Friends and family who visit are always commenting on how great the tap water tastes!)

Vast and Deep

Nicknamed, “Big Blue” for a reason, Lake Tahoe is 22 miles long and 12 miles wide. Tahoe is also deep, second only in the United States to Crater Lake in Oregon. At a depth of 1,645 feet deep, Lake Tahoe is 575 feet deeper than the Salesforce skyscraper in San Francisco, is tall. Lake Tahoe contains 30 trillion gallons of water, enough to supply every person in the U.S. with 50 gallons of water every day for 5 years. The water that evaporates daily from the surface alone, 330 million gallons, could supply the water needs of a city the size of Los Angeles. The circumference of the lake measures 72 miles and takes roughly 3 hours to drive around. There are many larger lakes in the United States by area but Tahoe is the largest lake by volume after the Great Lakes. At an elevation of 6,223 feet Lake Tahoe is the highest lake in the U.S. for its size and the largest alpine lake in North America. Whether you are admiring Big Blue from the top of one of the surrounding mountain peaks or diving the depths at the underwater state park in Emerald Bay, it is impossible to miss the awe in her immense beauty!

Surrounding Majesty

If the beauty and awe of the lake itself weren’t enough, we also get to take in towering mountain peaks, ample meadows and regal forest stands. Five peaks that are over 9,000 feet surround Lake Tahoe, including Rubicon Peak (9,183’), Mt. Tallac (9,735’), Pyramid Peak (9985’) Mt Rose (10,778’) and Freel Peak (10,881’). The meadows, like Meiss Meadow and Big Meadow, turn into a carpet of wildflowers during the late spring and early summer (July to mid August at higher elevations). And, there is nothing quite like walking into a still, shaded stand of tall pine trees or stepping off the trail into the vibrant rustle of a grove of aspens. We are all fortunate that almost 80% of the area around Lake Tahoe is public land, managed by the Forest Service. The Forest Service manages the National Forest called the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit in a unique way with special focus areas including: erosion control management, watershed restoration, fire and fuels management, forest management and recreation management. Established in 1973 after decades of blind, or unchecked development, the LTBMU has a strong ecosystem role and focus on protecting this beautiful space we call home.

These few points we share here don’t come close to describing all that we love and enjoy about Lake Tahoe. The lake, the surrounding area and the wildlife inspire much of what we create at ED Practical Art and we greatly appreciate the opportunity to call this place home!