Marin Permiere of The Movie to Keep Squaw True – March 21

We are excited to announce our the free Marin screening of The Movie to Keep Squaw True in Fairfax, CA!

Join us at Splitrock  Tap & Wheel with our friends from Demo Sport on Thursday, March 21. Click here for more details and to RSVP this free event:

Click here to get more info

This is a free event, but you must RSVP through our Eventbrite page. Q&A afterward with Sierra Watch Executive Director, Tom Mooers, and raffle with our partners, Demo Sport and Splitrock Tap & Wheel.



Free Bay Area premiere of The Movie to Keep Squaw True


Thursday, March 21th

Doors open at 6:30 p.m., show starts at 7:00


Splitrock Tap & Wheel

2020 Sir Francis Drake Blvd.

Fairfax, CA 94930


Free with RSVP through Eventbrite:

Walk-in’s accepted if room allows

More about the movie:

Click here to watch the new trailer!

When private equity developers and their corporate henchmen came to Tahoe to transform Squaw Valley into a Vegas-style amusement park, they ran into a mountain of community commitment – the movement to Keep Squaw True.

The movie tells the inspiring story of the ongoing seven-year struggle to stand up and defend Squaw Valley, Lake Tahoe, and the Sierra Nevada.

The film was written and directed by brothers, Robb (Squallywood) and Scott Gaffney (Matchstick Productions), and was produced by Sierra Watch. It features an unforgettable cast of enthusiastic Tahoe locals and iconic Squaw legends as they show the world how to band together and stand up for their mountain values.

So join us on Thursday, March 21, for this free screening of the movie with our friends Splitrock Tap & Wheel and Demo Sport! (Click for information page)

See you there!


For more information about The Movie to Keep Squaw True:

Dig out for Sunday’s 3rd Annual North Tahoe SnowFest Wing Eating Contest

Dig out of this week’s storm and join us Sunday, March 3th, for Fat Cat Bar & Grill’s Third Annual North Tahoe SnowFest Hot Wing Eating Contest, benefiting our work to Keep Squaw True!

What better way to celebrate all this snow, especially after the Sierra Sun reported that more snow has fallen this February at Squaw Valley’s upper mountain than any other month in the resort’s history – over 290 inches!

Pictured: “This is Tahoe’s measurment of the good times people have had,” Robb Gaffney, Sierra Watch Board Member

So come join us as we watch the fastest eaters from Tahoe and beyond test their mettle against each other and Fat Cat’s spicy wings to become North Tahoe SnowFest 2019’s wing eating champion. We’ll be there raffling off Keep Squaw True gear, as well as a signed copy of both Squallywood and the poster for G.N.A.R. The Movie.

Join us from 2 to 4pm, Fat Cat will be offering 30% off Bloody Marys and their signature wings to all spectators. What better way to wind down after all this shoveling and skiing than with your fellow conservationists?

Sierra Watch staff will also be on hand with campaign updates. For information on attending, registration and rules to compete, and more, go to the Facebook event page.


The wing eating competition is open to all amateur eaters 18 years or older who are in good health. Registration is $30 to compete & is currently open — just drop by Fat Cat Bar & Grill in Tahoe City, day-of or in advance to register, open everyday for lunch and dinner!

The Contest
1. Each competitor will start with exactly thirty wings covered with sauce.
2. The contest will last exactly three (3) minutes.
3. The competitors will consume their allotted wings and place the eaten chicken wing bone back into the wing receptacle.
4. If a competitor finishes their allotted thirty wings before the contest is complete, they will be given an additional ten wings to consume.
5. Once the contest is complete, each competitor’s wing receptacle will be taken to be weighed by a Judge.
6. The winner will be determined by the total weight of wing meat eaten, measured by an official contest scale in pounds and ounces by the Executive Judge. In the event of a tie between competitors, there will be a 60 second “run off” to determine the winner.

North Tahoe SnowFest Wing Eating Champion Jeff Stoike

Pictured: Last year’s North Tahoe SnowFest wing eating champion, Jeff Stoike

See you there!


UC Davis screening of The Movie to Keep Squaw True – March 7

Thursday, March 7, join Sierra Watch for a very special screening of The Movie to Keep Squaw True at UC Davis!

Hosted with the UC Davis Alpine Ski & Snowboard Team (DASS), this is going to be one great evening as we tell the epic story of the Squaw-skiing community rising up to defend the integrity of an incredible place!

Tickets are $3 at the door with proceeds going toward DASS’s 2019 race season! Q&A with Director Robb Gaffney and raffle afterward!

For more information check out the Facebook event: Click here to RSVP and learn more 



UC Davis Alpine Ski & Snowboard Team presents The Movie to Keep Squaw True at UC Davis


Thursday, March 7th

Doors open at 7:00 p.m., show starts at 7:30


Warren and Leta Giedt Hall

Room 1001 (Auditorium)

186 Bioletti Way

Davis, CA 95616


$3 per ticket

Available at the door


Parking available at “Visitor Parking Lot 47”, only a five minute walk from the auditorium

For Google Map coordinates to Visitor Parking Lot 47, click here

More about the movie:

Click here to watch the new trailer!

When private equity developers and their corporate henchmen came to Tahoe to transform Squaw Valley into a Vegas-style amusement park, they ran into a mountain of community commitment – the movement to Keep Squaw True.

The movie tells the inspiring story of the ongoing seven-year struggle to stand up and defend Squaw Valley, Lake Tahoe, and the Sierra Nevada.

The film was written and directed by brothers, Robb (Squallywood) and Scott Gaffney (Matchstick Productions), and was produced by Sierra Watch. It features an unforgettable cast of enthusiastic Tahoe locals and iconic Squaw legends as they show the world how to band together and stand up for their mountain values.

So join with the UC Davis Alpine Ski & Snowboard Team, Thursday, March 7, at 1001 Giedt Hall at UC Davis!

For information on other screening, check out our tour page!

See you there!

Sierra Watch Seeks Operations Manager for Nevada City Headquaters

Nevada City, Calif. − Sierra Watch seeks a proven Operations Manager to join our leadership team. 

Founded in 2001, Sierra Watch has built a remarkable record of success in Sierra conservation, spearheading effort to protect Tahoe’s Martis Valley, save Donner Summit, and Keep Squaw True.

The Operations Manager will staff our headquarters in Nevada City, California, providing steady administrative expertise in accounting, office systems, fundraising, and communications.

Experience with Intuit QuickBooks, the Microsoft Office Suite, and database management required; familiarity with relational management software and email marketing platforms preferred; a sense of humor is encouraged.

The position is full-time; salary DOE with benefits.

Please scroll down the page to see entire position description.

Anyone interested in applying should send a cover letter and resume to:

          Operations Manager Search 

Position is open until filled. Please, no drop-ins.

Position Description

The Sierra Watch Operations Manager staffs organizational administration and manages our Nevada City headquarters.

The ideal candidate has at least two years experience in non-profit management and/or organizational administration.

Core Responsibilities

  • Office Operations: manage office operations including tech systems and data.
  • Books/Financial: manage accounts and bookkeeping; track budgets; prepare taxes and corporate filings.
  • Development/Fundraising: maintain donor database; manage donor communications and direct mail outreach; produce reports; maintain donor files.
  • Communications: manage email outreach; field incoming requests and phone calls.

Experience with Intuit QuickBooks, the Microsoft Office Suite, and database management required; familiarity with relational management software and email marketing platforms preferred; a sense of humor is encouraged.

Sierra Watch remembers Judge William A. Newsom

— By Tom Mooers, Sierra Watch Executive Director. First published as a guest column in The Union, serving Western Nevada County, CA, —

In December we gathered in Dutch Flat for the funeral of Bill Newsom.

For a guy who had been everywhere — and knew everyone, it was no accident that he chose a final resting place beneath the cedar and the pine of his beloved Sierra.

Bill was a man of the mountains.

He lacked any capacity to tolerate injustice of any kind, anywhere — especially in the Sierra. And became, therefore, a hero of conservation — founding, for example, California’s Mountain Lion Foundation, as well as serving on the Board of Directors for Sierra Watch.

Newsom (r.) with the rest of then Sierra Watch Board

For a small, regional nonprofit like ours, Bill was what you’d call a good get. Bill had experience in law — as a judge, even. He was a proven leader. And Bill had d Bill had connections. His son, at the time, was Mayor of San Francisco — imagine that!

So when Bill agreed to meet with me back in 2003, I was stoked. He granted me 20 minutes and told me to meet him for coffee in Colfax. Two hours later, we were still talking. Within a few months, Sierra Watch had a new board member. And I had made a friend.

Over the next six years, I came to understand and appreciate what Bill meant to the cause of conservation in the Sierra and to an organization like ours. It wasn’t just his connections.

Newsom with Tom’s daughter, Abby

And it wasn’t that he turned out to be the best lunch date ever. Holding court at the New Moon in Nevada City, he’d people his anecdotes with characters like Adlai Stevenson and Aldous Huxley, throw around lines from Yeats and Frost. He strategized with Senators — and partied with Rolling Stones.

But beyond his connections and the conversation, the most important quality Bill provided to Sierra Watch was: clarity. Clarity of vision, clarity of action.

Sometimes our work can bog down in political nuances and strategic consternation. Not for Bill. He had a way of divining what was truly at stake — and what we should do about it.

In 2013, for example, as Sierra Watch was assessing proposed development in Squaw Valley, we tur

ned to Bill for guidance. With characteristic clarity — and a biblical reference — he proclaimed the project as completely unacceptable and set us on our path to Keep Squaw True.

Bill’s picture in River Ranch Restaurant

Bill left the board the next year, and we threw him a party — a proper asada at River Ranch on the Truckee River.

In case anyone had forgotten what kind of guy Bill was, there was picture of him on the restaurant wall — with a mountain lion. In his lap. Not a dead one either — just temporarily sedated as part of a habitat restoration program. It was the kind of picture you might find of ‘The Most Interesting Man in the World.’ Except it was real. Just like Bill.

In the years that followed, we remained friends. And Bill remained committed to our shared cause. Now it’s up to us to remain true to Bill.


Tom Mooers is the executive director of Sierra Watch, reach him at or call his office at (530) 265-2849 ext. 200


The Movie to Keep Squaw True: See it in December!

The Movie to Keep Squaw True is coming to a theatre near you – December showings in Tahoe City and June Lake!

Check out our first trailer!


December 8 & 9 – Tahoe Art Haus & Cinema

Tahoe City, CA
7:30 PM (Saturday – SOLD OUT); 2 PM & 4PM (Sunday – Tickets still available!)
$12 tickets available online and at door (We advise people to buy tickets in advance!)
For tickets and more info:

December 11 – T-Bar Social Club

June Lake, CA
7:00 PM, Q&A with Robb Gaffney and Tom Mooers after movie
$7 tickets available only at door
For address and more information:

Pictured: Robb Gaffney Wants You To Watch The Movie to Keep Squaw True!

The Movie to Keep Squaw True tells the epic story of how we rise up to defend the integrity of an incredible place.  How we stand up to a private equity Goliath and their corporate henchmen.  And how we tap the power of our collective passion to protect Squaw Valley, Lake Tahoe, and the Sierra Nevada. 

It’s a seven-year saga of how we keep a favorite Tahoe mountain from being turned into a Vegas-style amusement park, and it’s an inspiring example for conservationists everywhere.

Watch the movie and be a part of the movement to Keep Squaw True!

The Movie to Keep Squaw True is written and directed by Robb and Scott Gaffney, produced by Sierra Watch, and features a cast of enthusiastic Tahoe locals and iconic Squaw legends.

Sign the petition to Keep Squaw True to stay up-to-date on 2019 movie showing announcements for California, Nevada, and the Rockies, and check back here:


Sierra Watch and Partners File Appeal on Martis Valley West

Last week Sierra Watch and our co-plaintiffs submitted the Opening Brief in our ongoing challenge to the Martis Valley West development proposal. 

The brief not only spells out why Placer County’s approval of the project was illegal, it also sticks up for a set of principles that are fundamental to the future of Tahoe and the Sierra. 

— Click here to read the brief —

Pictured: North Lake Tahoe from Martis

The Martis Valley West project, proposed for a “very high fire hazard zone” along Brockway Summit, would allow construction of new roads, commercial development, and 760 houses on the northern rim of the Tahoe Basin. 

It would add 3,985 daily car trips to our existing gridlock – many of which would travel into the Tahoe Basin and add pollutants that are robbing the lake of its famous clarity.

Even though Placer County’s own Planning Commission – as well as local residents and common sense – recommended against approval, the Board of Supervisors approved the project on October 11, 2016.

We challenged those approvals immediately, and, earlier this year, the trial court issued its ruling.  We won – but on narrow grounds.  By filing an appeal, we seek to strengthen our victory.

According to the 77-page document filed by Sierra Watch, League to Save Lake Tahoe, and Mountain Area Preservation in California’s Third District Court of Appeals last week, those approvals “violated two state laws designed to protect the environment: the California Environmental Quality Act (‘CEQA’) and the Timberland Productivity Act.”

Pictured: Sierra Watch at the Placer County Superior Court

Specifically, the County failed to meet the basic standards of state law in assessing the development’s impacts on: the clarity of Lake Tahoe, climate change, and public safety in the event of a wildfire and, also, in immediately rezoning land that had been given substantial tax breaks for a long-term commitment to remain forest.

Clarity of Lake Tahoe

The California Environmental Quality Act, the brief points out, designates the Tahoe Basin as an area of “Statewide, Regional, or Areawide Significance” and calls expressly for its protection.

Even the United States Supreme Court agrees “that Lake Tahoe is ‘uniquely beautiful,’ that President Clinton was right to call it a ‘national treasure that must be protected and preserved,’ and that Mark Twain aptly described the clarity of its waters as ‘not merely transparent, but dazzlingly, brilliantly so.’”

But the Martis Valley West proposal threatens our multi-generational effort to Keep Tahoe Blue.  As the brief reminds us, “It would send nearly 1,400 car trips per day into the Tahoe Basin, creating emissions and sediment that would significantly contribute to the degradation of the Lake’s famed clarity and the Basin’s fragile air quality.”

And, in approving the project, “the County refused even to describe this important element of the regional setting, much less adequately analyze the Project’s significant impacts on the Lake and Basin.”

That failure to consider regional impacts of a specific development, according to the brief, renders approvals “fatally defective.”

Public Safety/Wildfire

This week we are getting painful reminders of the growing risk of wildfire – and the importance to plan accordingly. And state law also requires decision-makers to assess the project’s impacts on public safety in general and wildfire danger in particular.

In the case of Martis Valley West, all those subdivisions, the brief reminds us, “would be built in a ‘Very High’ fire severity zone, increasing the risk of catastrophic wildfire in the region and exposing residents, visitors, and fire-fighters to dangerous conditions.”

Yet, somehow, in approving the project, the County “summarily dismisses the Project’s emergency evacuation hazards as ‘insignificant.’”

In doing so, the County “plainly failed to comply with state law.”

Climate Change

California law codifies a state-wide commitment to consider climate impacts in development decision-making. 

The Martis Valley West project, the brief points out, “would emit roughly 30,000 metric tons of CO2 per year at buildout,” which would “vastly exceed the new significance threshold of 1,100 per year.”

Yet the County failed to assess how the Project could effectively mitigate its impacts and, because there is “no effective mitigation for this significant impact,” approvals “cannot stand.”

Timber Production Zoning

California enacted the Timberland Productivity Act in 1976 to “protect California’s forest resources and timberlands”. 

In order to safeguard vulnerable forests in “areas where second home subdivisions have been encroaching on valuable timberland,” the law confers generous property tax breaks on owners of timberland in exchange for placing their land into Timber Production Zones (TPZ), a designation which strictly confines the land’s use to timber production and related uses.

In exchange for lower taxes, the law prescribes a ten-year waiting period for any rezoning to become effective.

In the case of Martis Valley West, the County waived that waiting period and, as our brief contends, “violated the state Timberland Productivity Act (“Act”) by illegally rezoning protected forestland to accommodate the Project.”

Again, each one of the issues is reason enough to overturn Placer County’s approvals of the Martis Valley West project.  Most are issues that we will raise again in our Squaw Valley challenge.  And, together, they raise some of the most important questions facing Tahoe and the Sierra:

Should we consider the impacts one development project might have on the region’s natural resources?

Should planners and decision-makers consider the danger of catastrophic wildfire in approving subdivisions in California forests?

Can we apply state planning law to help reverse the catastrophic impacts of climate change?

And should landowners who get a tax break by committing to keeping land in forest be held accountable to that commitment?

Obviously we think the answers should be yesyesyes, and yes.  But we’ll have to be patient to see if the Court of Appeals agrees; their decision could take years.

In the meantime, please don’t hesitate to contact Sierra Watch Executive Director, Tom Mooers directly with any questions or comments.  You can reach him by phone at (530) 265-2849 ext. 200 or by email at




Tahoe Development News: Sierra Watch Prevails Against Alterra Court Challenge

September 27, 2018

Court Dismissed Developer Attempt to Intimidate Sierra Watch

Roseville, Calif. – Placer County Superior Court sided with Sierra Watch and ruled against developers Alterra Mountain Company in their attempt to sanction the Tahoe conservation group for its efforts to enforce California’s open government laws.

“This was a clear attempt on the part of Alterra to harass a local non-profit and intimidate the public,” said Tom Mooers, Executive Director of Sierra Watch.  “It failed.”

The controversy arose from Alterra’s continued pursuit of the biggest development project in the Tahoe Sierra. 

Originally, KSL Capital Partners proposed the Squaw Valley project in 2011; then they joined forces with Henry Crown and Company to form Alterra Mountain Company. 

Alterra is now pushing that Squaw Valley project, as well as buying ski resorts throughout the world and selling the new ‘Ikon Pass’ to skiers, which grants access to 36 mountains on three continents.

In Squaw Valley, Alterra seeks to build a series of high-rise condo hotels, including a 90,000 square-foot indoor waterpark.  The project would take 25 years to construct and add thousands of car trips to Tahoe’s crowded roads. 

Pictured: Squaw Valley

Sierra Watch, a Nevada City based conservation non-profit, is leading the effort to turn back the Alterra proposal and secure community-based planning for Squaw Valley.  The group’s campaign to “Keep Squaw True” is based on the grassroots support of thousands of individuals and scores of local businesses.

After the Placer County Board of Supervisors approved Alterra’s proposed development in 2016, Sierra Watch initiated two public interest court challenges to the approvals: one based on state planning laws; the other based on violations of California’s Brown Act.

Sierra Watch’s Brown Act case challenges Placer County’s last-minute deal with the developers and the California Attorney General, negotiated in secret and announced the same day the project was approved.

The Brown Act, passed in 1953, is designed to ensure public involvement in government decision-making.  “The people of this State do not yield their sovereignty to the agencies which serve them,” the law states.  “It is the intent of the law that their actions be taken openly and that their deliberations be conducted openly.”

A cornerstone of the law is that the public must have the opportunity to be informed participants in decision-making.  Specifically, the law requires a governing body to “post an agenda containing a brief general description of each item of business to be transacted or discussed at the meeting” and, also, that key documents relevant to important decisions be made “available for public inspection”.  But, Sierra Watch contends, in the case of the Squaw Valley development and its impact on Lake Tahoe, the County did neither.

Throughout the five-year planning process, conservationists, as well as the California Attorney General, raised concerns about how the Alterra project would pump traffic – more than 1,300 new daily car trips – into the Tahoe Basin, adding pollution to the lake and threatening the ongoing effort to Keep Tahoe Blue.

Pictured: Lake Tahoe

Placer County’s answer was to negotiate an arrangement with the developers and the Attorney General – in secret – and then to spring the deal in a surprise announcement on the day of their approvals.  At the 2016 hearing, County Counsel Karin Schwab announced that a deal had been struck and touted the County’s leadership role, citing their “extensive discussions with the Attorney General.”

But the deal was reached in the eleventh hour – not in time to make the public agenda for the Board of Supervisors meeting, nor made “available for public inspection”, another requirement of the Brown Act.

“This really did literally come together yesterday,” explained the developers’ attorney, Whit Manley, at the hearing.

Nevertheless, in June 2018 the Placer County Court ruled in favor of Placer County and the developers in the Brown Act challenge; that decision is now on appeal.

Following that decision, Alterra attempted to pile on, entering a motion to sanction Sierra Watch – and collect $226,893.60 from the non-profit – as punishment for pursuing the case. 

“This is the kind of tactic that gives lawyers a bad name,” says Isaac Silverman, Sierra Watch Staff Attorney.  “It’s not the first time big developers have tried to abuse the courts to silence the Squaw community; hopefully it will prove to be the last.”

Alterra claimed that Sierra Watch’s challenge had been “clearly frivolous and totally lacking in merit” – in spite of an abundance of evidence and arguments, based on depositions, formal memos, notices, agendas, and emails between the Attorney General’s office, Placer County counsel, and the developers.

Pictured: Keep Squaw True supporters at 2016 hearing

Alterra further attacked Sierra Watch and its motives, claiming that the group’s Brown Act challenge was based solely on the personal feelings of its Executive Director, Tom Mooers, and not on the actions of Placer County.  In their brief, they claimed Sierra Watch acted because Mooers “took losing Sierra Watch’s campaign to stop the Project at the Board of Supervisors as a personal affront” because he is “hubristic”.

In its ruling handed down this week, the court disagreed with Alterra and sided with Sierra Watch.  “Based upon a careful review of the pleadings in support of and in opposition to the current motion, the entire file in this action, and its observations at trial, the court cannot conclude that petitioner’s action was clearly frivolous or totally meritless,” the ruling states.

In the months ahead, Sierra Watch will follow through with its appeal of the original Brown Act challenge.

“Alterra needs to understand that, in our long-term commitment to Keep Squaw True, we will not be intimidated,” said Mooers of Sierra Watch.  “And that they’d be better served working with the Tahoe community than attacking it.”

About Sierra Watch

Sierra Watch works to protect great places in the Sierra Nevada.  Founded in 2001, the Nevada City based non-profit has built a remarkable track record in land preservation in Tahoe’s Martis Valley, on Donner Summit, and for other treasured Sierra landscapes.  For more information, visit


SOLD OUT- World Premiere of The Movie to Keep Squaw True

UPDATE: Please stay tuned for updates on our tour and showings in Tahoe, across Northern California, Western Nevada, and ski communities across the U.S. Get our latest updates about tour information by signing the Keep Squaw True pledge and getting on our contact list!

Sierra Watch is hosting the World Premiere of The Movie to Keep Squaw True in Truckee, September 14.

The Movie to Keep Squaw True premiere poster

Tickets are available at

“The movie is a David and Goliath story of a local community coming up against big money and big development. We’ve got an amazing opportunity to shape the future of our region and it’s happening right now with Sierra Watch,”  Robb Gaffney, interviewed by Moonshine Ink.


The Gaffney Brothers present the World Premiere of the full-length feature film: The Movie to Keep Squaw True.


Friday, September 14

Doors open at 7:30 p.m., show begins at 8:00


Truckee Community Arts Center

10046 Church Street, Truckee, CA


For seven years, North Tahoe has been living through the biggest development fight in the Sierra Nevada. Legendary local filmmakers Robb and Scott Gaffney have captured the epic struggle in a feature-length film, and, on September 14, you can be among the first to see The Movie to Keep Squaw True.

Pictured: On Location shooting The Movie to Keep Squaw True

Also: there will be snacks provided by Fat Cat Bar & Grill and libations from Alibi Ale Works.


Tickets available online at

$10 advance/$12 door


Afterparty at Alibi Ale Works’ Truckee Public House!


Directed by Robb Gaffney; Written and edited by Scott Gaffney; Produced by Sierra Watch with the help of the Squaw-skiing and Tahoe-loving community!

Other notes:

If you are unable to attend the September Premiere, stay tuned for future announcements on showings in select venues across Northern California and Western Nevada. Get on our email list to stay up to date on all things Keep Squaw True by signing the pledge!

All Crowdrise donors at the $50 or above level: please respond to Sierra Watch Field Representative, Chase Schweitzer to reserve your ticket(s) if you have not done so yet. If you cannot attend this showing, we will honor your reserved ticket(s) at later showings!

Free parking in Downtown Truckee after 6:00 p.m.

Handicap accessible event; please contact Chase for accommodations.

Placer Court Give Developers Round One Victory in Squaw CEQA Challenge

Breaking news: Placer County Superior Court has ruled against Sierra Watch’s Squaw CEQA challenge and upheld Placer County’s 2016 approvals of KSL’s massive development.

The good news is that Sierra Watch is well-positioned to appeal the case and further our shared effort to Keep Squaw True.

Pictured: Picturesque Squaw Valley

To review: the controversy began in 2011 when KSL Capital Partners, a Denver-based private equity firm now partnered with Alterra Mountain Company, submitted a development proposal to remake North Tahoe with a series of high-rise condo hotels and a 90,000 square-foot indoor waterpark. 

The project would take 25 years to construct and add thousands of car trips to Tahoe’s crowded roads. 

Sierra Watch launched a grassroots campaign to Keep Squaw True. Thousands of supporters have signed the petition to deny the project. 

Placer County’s own Squaw Valley Municipal Advisory Council sounded clear opposition, recommending that the County deny it outright and consider cutting the project in half. Hundreds of local residents showed up to Placer County’s public hearing and stood in opposition. 

Regardless, on November 15, 2016, by a 4-1 vote, the Placer County Board of Supervisors voted to approve the project–with the only ‘no’ vote coming from the Supervisor who represents Tahoe and Squaw Valley.  

Pictured: Opponents of Squaw Development at 2016 Hearing

A month later Sierra Watch took the development to court.

In legal briefs and oral arguments, Sierra Watch showed that Placer County’s approvals violated the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) by failing to study the development’s potential impacts on critical issues, including Tahoe’s famed water quality, increased danger of wildfires, scarcity of local water supplies, and traffic.

In its seventeen page ruling, however, the court sided with KSL and the County.

Regarding Tahoe and the clarity of the lake, for example, the court pointed out that the “the Project is located outside of the Tahoe Basin,” and that the County’s claim that its impacts on the lake “would not be significant” passes legal muster.

The ruling also agreed with KSL’s arguments that “shelter in place” is an adequate plan for wildfires, “There is also substantial evidence in the record to support the availability and propriety of allowing residents and visitors to shelter in place in the event of emergency if necessary.”

Obviously, we respectfully disagree.  And we are preparing to take our Squaw CEQA case to the California Court of Appeals.

We hope you’ll continue to stand with us as we defend our awesome mountains.  When it comes to our work to protect Tahoe and Keep Squaw True, now is the time to keep on keeping on!

This setback in our Squaw CEQA case is temporary; our commitment to the Sierra is timeless.