Nature Conservancy purchases Independence Lake

This is your initial view of the lake from the trail.

Thanks to the Trout Underground, I was taken on a trip down memory lane this morning.

In 1997 three friends and I spent a few days at Independence lake north of lake Tahoe. I remember distinctly thinking to my self, I will try come back here every year of my life, it is just THAT kind of place. There is an overpowering sense of awe and inspiration that I often find in places like that. I realize, pop culture has turned the “pristine alpine lake scene” into a granola-bar-ad cliche, but when you see it in person and really experience it, its hard to ignore.

At the far end of the lake, barely visible in the photo above, is a cliff about 20 feet above the water. Standing on that cliff shirtless, screaming like idiots and pounding our chests to get psyched up, we jumped in one by one. I can’t remember who went first, but I will never forget the split second free fall and the crush of the freezing water that took my breath away. I also never forget the sound of the marble sized hail and snow pounding my tent later that night. Unforgettable moments.

Hopefully, someday, I will go back and take my family to share this place. I hope to be able to camp overnight then. But according to the FAQ over here, it won’t be this year, because they are refusing overnight camping. But alas maybe some day.

On May 11, 2010, The Nature Conservancy announced that Independence Lake, one of the most pristine alpine lakes west of the Rockies, and the majestic wilderness that surrounds it will remain protected from development following the sale of the lake and the land to The Nature Conservancy by longtime owner NV Energy.

Will I be able to camp at Independence Lake?

In 2010, camping will not be one of the many ways to enjoy the beauty of Independence Lake. We will be evaluating the option of walk-in camping in future years. In the meantime we ask that campers take advantage of the many other camping opportunities nearby, and enjoy Independence Lake for day use only.

The view from our campsight looked very much like this.

3 thoughts on “Nature Conservancy purchases Independence Lake

  1. The Nature Conservancy purchased the land surrounding the lake in May of 2010. Of the $15 million purchase, over $13 million was from California and Federal tax dollars. Now they are severely limiting access and usage of Independence Lake – a California owned public lake.

    Tell The Nature Conservancy that it is not okay to use public monies to purchase lands and then prevent or limit access to the public!

    In June, July, and then again in August, we attempted to gain access for the disabled. With previous access, the disabled could drive directly to the lake. Now, there is no access for the disabled, and the way The Nature Conservancy has routed the hike-in access, the disabled cannot even view the lake!

    Tell The Nature Conservancy to allow access for all.

    • If they have in fact limited access that was available previously then that might prove to be a PR problem fro them, albeit a fairly small one. I have no first hand knowledge of TNC and all the knowledge I do have of them is second hand at best. But I have heard that they are fairly secretive and cagey about their goals and action plan. Generally speaking I think they have the best interest of the resources in mind, but limiting access is not wise at all.

      Nature is not a diorama to look at from the wrong side of a velvet rope, it is an space meant for immersion and interaction on all levels. Hopefully they will come to their sense, but I wouldn’t hold my breath.

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