Conservationists Say Lake Tahoe Project Slows Wildfire Evacuation

11 hours on a single access road

 

 

By SCOTT SONNER Associated Press

OLYMPIC VALLEY, Calif. (AP) — Conservationists trying to block expansion of the Lake Tahoe ski resort that hosted the 1960 Winter Olympics say the developer is trying to hide the impacts of the project on the pristine mountain environment.

In legal action, the group Sierra Watch cited a dramatic traffic increase that could cause dangerous delays during a wildfire evacuation at the California resort.

Tom Mooers, head of the group that is suing Squaw Valley and its Denver-based owner, Alterra Mountain Co., says it would take nearly 11 hours to evacuate via the single access road during a wildfire.

The group has appealed a court ruling that upheld approval of the project by Placer County, which concluded any potential harm could be offset.

Lawyers for Squaw Valley say 2.9 hours currently is needed to evacuate and that could grow to 5 to 6.5 hours under most scenarios.

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