Squaw Valley, Lake Tahoe, Squaw development

Keeping Squaw True: Making our Case in the Court of Appeals

Sierra Watch submitted the final brief to the Third District Court Appeals in our ongoing effort to overturn illegal development proposals in Tahoe’s Squaw Valley.

Our brief effectively counters the arguments laid out by Alterra Mountain Company and Placer County in their latest missive to the court and, more importantly, expertly reaffirms the fact that 2016 approvals violated state law.

Squaw Valley, Lake Tahoe, Squaw development

The entire document is available online – and it’s a pretty good read.

But, if you’re not up to digesting the full 78 pages, we offer a sample of two arguments Alterra is making in pursuit of their reckless development proposal.

Traffic? What traffic?

In their brief, Alterra actually claims that both Squaw Valley Road and Highway 89 “flow freely 99% of time.” That’s right. No problem. 

So every time you are stuck somewhere between Tahoe City and Truckee, whether it’s a powder day or a holiday or just a random Tuesdas—you’re somehow just that unlucky 1%.

Squaw Valley traffic, Tahoe Traffic

Alterra’s assertion would be funny if traffic in Tahoe was not such a direct threat to our quality of life. Or in the event of wildfire, to life itself.

Forest? What forest?

Speaking of wildfire, Alterra downplays the real risk of wildfire by claiming Squaw Valley is surrounded by “ski runs and bare rocks.”

As the Sierra Watch brief points out, this contradicts their own planning documents, which correctly point out, “The project site is situated in the Sierra Nevada, surrounded by forest land.”

A fact also confirmed by the view from Shirley Canyon:

Shirley Canyon, tahoe fire, squaw valley fire, california fire

 Fire danger, just one of the many reasons why we are Keeping Squaw True!

This, too, could be funny. If it wasn’t part of Placer County’s dangerous claim that a ten-hour evacuation time in the event of wildfire is, somehow, “insignificant.”

And Alterra’s irresponsible assertion that their development would be a “safer placer to shelter in place.”

“Shelter in place” is not an effective public safety plan. It’s what you do when you can’t get out.

These two examples – in the face of traffic and fire danger – fit a broad pattern of dismissiveness and denial on the part of both Placer County and Alterra Mountain Company.

Tahoe deserves better.

To learn more about Sierra Watch and our work to secure safe and responsible planning for Squaw Valley and the Tahoe Sierra, visit sierrawatch.org – and check out The Movie to Keep Squaw True.