Lake Tahoe has not only transformed America, it has also played a major role in the conquest of California. The lake put a beginning to a sexual revolution, was a premise for a ski industry and also led to the launch of Republican Party. The novel Tahoe beneath the Surface by Scott Lankford tells about a hidden history of the most famous residents of the Lake Tahoe. The novel provides tales about Rat Pack, Mafia dons and mysterious legends of Indian tribes.
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The novel brings to light the values of Lake Tahoe illustrating why it is one of the hot spots in America. It also traces the steps of authors like Maxine Hong Kingston, Bertrand Russell and Michael Ondaatje. In addition, it reveals the darkest pages of the American history, such as Kennedy assassination and anti-Chinese racism.
The novel also shows how lives of such famous people like Frank Sinatra, John Muir, and Mark Twain were influenced by this lake. These characters both have specific reasons as to why they value Lake Tahoe, for example Sinatra value lake Tahoe because of its glamour and glitz, while Muir values it for its natural beauty and Cousteau values the lake for its natural waters (Scott 98).
However, even regardless of the influence on life of many people, there are several environmental threats that the lake faces making it increasingly vulnerable. There are also Tahoe Blue in the lake, which is a term used by the author Lankford to describe the meaning represented by the lake, its beauty and range of life around it. It is however important to preserve Lake Tahoe since it has transformed America and the people leaving around it.
Lake Tahoe has acted as one of the most beautiful cites in the whole world, however, it is still troubled by numerous environmental harms. Since 1844 when Lake Tahoe was discovered, the lake has acted as scenic attraction site because of its natural beauty and surrounding which is one of the reasons why John Muir, a character in the novel, valued the lake.
On the other hand, Frank Sinatra who is one of the characters in the novel, also valued the lake because of its glamour and glitz. This is one of the reasons why Lake Tahoe needs to be preserved, as its site can act as a source of revenue to America when tourists come to view the place. Many scientists, community leaders and government seek to find ways to preserve the lake and restore its distinctive biological diversity.
Cousteau who is one of the characters of the novel Tahoe beneath the Surface values the Lake Tahoe for its natural waters. Lake Tahoe straddling along the California-Nevada border is well known for its clean waters usually referred to as jewel of the Sierra (Scott 100).
However, subsequent development and growth has become one of threats faced by Lake Tahoe since it menaces the clarity of the natural waters. This part of the lake is the centerpiece of ecosystem where many resource managers and scientists have continually been examined. They measure, sample, test and restore the biodiversity and landscape of the lake.
They try their best to ensure that Lake Tahoe restores back its natural waters which has acted as a home for many plant species and wildlife. If the water is endangered then it means that the lives of these plants and animals are in danger too. This is why it is very crucial that the lake be preserved to save the plants and animals and also the clarity of the water. About 200,000 acres of the lake have ecologically sensitive slopes, marshes and meadows (Dylan 110).
Economic development and growth have a negative effect on the environment of the lake despite the fact that it has contributed to the prosperity of the region that is situated near the lake. Nevertheless, there is a great decline in biodiversity in the lake due to the polluted air and soil.
The soil and air around Lake Tahoe need to be fresh to enable survival of living organisms in it and around it. It is therefore crucial to preserve the lake. Regional goals have been adopted by American government to promote and expand bio-logical diversity of wildlife, fish and communities that habit in and around Lake Tahoe.
Landowners around Lake Tahoe have also taken the initiative of reclaiming those parts of the lake that are troubled to see in it that they are well preserved. 85 percent of the land along Lake Tahoe belongs to California Department of Parks and Recreation, U.S Forest Service, California Tahoe Conservancy and Neva da Division of States Parks. However, the remaining part of the land along Lake Tahoe is privately owned (Byron & Charles 86).
Biodiversity conservation at Lake Tahoe has become a major challenge because of high economic growth and development in the area which has slowed down the rate of degradation. The basin is being used heavily making it hard to conserve the region.
As such, there are many environmental problems faced by the region, they include, erosion, dead trees and al gal growth. However, environmental problems along the lake basin are mainly caused by humans. Due to many activities in the lake basin which disturb the soil, erosion occurs which results in lasting detrimental effects on Lake Tahoe (Dylan 110). This has led to renowned clarity of the lake.
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The crystal waters of Lake Tahoe are being washed by sediments loaded with algae-feeding nutrients (Byron & Charles 87). It is therefore important to stem out the erosions by building terrains or steep in rocky areas while in flat regions, revegetation will help maintain the rich soil (Dylan 121). Curbs, culverts and gutters can also be used to fix erosion.
The dying and dead trees are removed from the lake to prevent the existing vegetations from dying and also to allow animals in the lake to move freely. Removing the dead trees is also a way of reducing fire hazards along the basin and also to restore back vegetations that had been affected by trees (Scott 156). Dense forests are also thinned where unnatural trees are removed. Careful burning is also prescribed in the area so that no plant or animal is affected by the fire.
Another major challenge that Lake Tahoe faces is persistent increase in temperature of its waters which has a great impact on the ecosystem of the entire lake. A study conducted by Schladow shows that the waters of the lake are warm.
This temperature does not favor the growth of most plants in the lake; recently, different types of algae were seen growing in the lake which is different from the previous once (Coats, Chris & Schladow 129). This means that Lake Tahoe has become hospitable to persistent fish and plants due to the warm temperatures.
There is an increase in warm-water species such as carp and bass. However, this means that the plants and fish that were favored by cold temperature no longer exist in the lake because the warm temperature does not favor them. It is therefore crucial that activities carried out around the lake should be regulated so that the lake can experience a change in temperature to be able to contain more plants and animals.
In conclusion, it should be mentioned that given the fact that Lake Tahoe has transformed lives of many American people, as well as the entire country, has played a major role in conquest of California, and sparked several revolutions, I can say that the lake is worth saving. Lake Tahoe is valuable not only to the citizens of America but to the entire world as it has a beautiful site that attracts attention. However, Lake Tahoe is facing numerous challenges which have endangered the lake.
Many individuals including the government are working together to ensure that Lake Tahoe is preserved and its natural environment is reclaimed. Preserving the lake will also help improve the health of the forest, the quality of the water and air, and consequently its biological diversity. Lankford uses different characters who valued Lake Tahoe; the story of Muir was more compelling than the rest of other stories and his connection to the lake seemed to be more resonate to mine.
Byron, Earl & Charles, Goldman. Land-Use and Water Quality in Tributary Streams of Lake Tahoe, California-Nevada. Journal of Environmental Quality, 1989. 18 (1): 84–88.
Coats, Perez-Losada, Chris, Goldman & Schladow, Richards. The Warming of Lake Tahoe: Climatic Change. California: Public Press, 2006.
Dylan, Silver. A need for care: South Lake Tahoe faces shortage of foster parents. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2012.
Scott, Elvis. The Saga of Lake Tahoe: Early Lore and History of the Lake Tahoe Basin. New York: Sunset Magazine, 1957.
Scott, Lankford. Tahoe beneath the Surface: The Hidden Stories of America’s Largest Mountain Lake. California: Heyday Publishers, 2010.