Strategic Assessment: Sierra Watch Releases Report on White Wolf Development Project
Massive development threatens everything we love about the Tahoe Sierra. And now there’s a new project in town.
Today we released our Sierra Watch White Wolf Strategic Assessment, a detailed look at proposed development on the White Wolf property between Alpine Meadows and Squaw Valley – and what it would mean to our mountains.
There’s more in the release below, and you can find the full report at: https://www.sierrawatch.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Sierra-Watch-White-Wolf-Strategic-Assessment-July-2021.pdf
This is how we do it; this is how we stand up for our Sierra and turn development threats into conservation opportunities. Thanks for standing with us.
Contact: Tom Mooers, Sierra Watch: (530) 265-2849 x200
For immediate release:
July 27, 2021
SIERRA WATCH RELEASES ASSESSMENT OF PROPOSED TAHOE DEVELOPMENT
Conservationists: White Wolf resort presents clear threat to Tahoe wilderness and mountain values
Tahoe City, Calif. – Sierra Watch today issued a detailed assessment of new development proposed for the 275-acre White Wolf property between Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows in the Tahoe Sierra, including land designated for National Wilderness.
“The findings of our assessment are clear,” said Tom Mooers, Sierra Watch Executive Director. “The iconic White Wolf property is an important part of our Tahoe landscape, and proposed development is a threat to our shared mountain values.”
The proposed resort is the latest in a string of massive development proposals in the North Tahoe region. Nearby, Alterra Mountain Company proposes to transform Squaw Valley with a series of highrises and an indoor waterpark. To the east, Sierra Pacific Industries proposes new development in the forests above Martis Valley.
On the White Wolf property, gated subdivisions would spread from Alpine Meadows Road north towards Squaw Valley and west to the Granite Chief Wilderness Area. New development would include single-family custom home lots, new roads and parking lots, two private ski lifts, equestrian facilities, and tennis courts.
Sierra Watch engaged experts in planning, law, biological resources, and wildfire safety to research and compile the assessment, seeking to understand the values at stake and potential impacts of the project.
Their review reveals a number of significant issues and potential impacts, including:
- Development in land designated for National Wilderness;
- Degradation of the wilderness experience in existing Granite Chief Wilderness;
- Deterioration of the popular Five Lakes Trail;
- Destruction of regional scenic values;
- Dangers to public safety, including the threats of both wildfire and avalanche; and
- Damage to biological resources, including potential endangered species habitat.
According to the report, “the White Wolf project proposes roads, commercial enterprise, and structures” on land designated for protection as National Wilderness when then-President Ronald Reagan signed the California Wilderness Act of 1984 into law.
“Wilderness protection is a bold declaration of American values,” says Mooers of Sierra Watch. “And the White Wolf proposal is a direct threat to the national commitment to our natural heritage.”
To read the full 31-page report, visit: https://www.sierrawatch.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Sierra-Watch-White-Wolf-Strategic-Assessment-July-2021.pdf
The detailed document also establishes a set of Planning Principles designed to encourage responsible land use decision-making:
- Honor and implement the national commitment to lands designated for protection as part of the Granite Chief Wilderness.
- Protect the Five Lakes Trail as an important regional asset and unique outdoor experience.
- Ensure that new development does not degrade or overwhelm existing infrastructure.
- Acknowledge the growing danger of wildfire and protect the health and safety of new and existing residents.
- Protect lives and property from avalanche danger.
- Protect the biological resources of the White Wolf property and habitat value of the surrounding area.
- Process any application for development with full public involvement, thorough environmental assessment, and adherence to existing law.
Landowner Troy Caldwell filed an initial application for the development in 2015, seeking entitlements and asking to rezone most of the property; all but roughly three of the property’s 275 acres are currently zoned either Open Space or Forest.
Placer County is currently drafting an Environmental Impact Review, the next step in the public planning process for the proposed project.
“The goal of our assessment is to increase awareness about what’s at stake and encourage public engagement,” says Mooers of Sierra Watch. “One thing we’ve learned as we stand up to defend our mountain values is that the more people get involved, the more likely we are to secure a conservation outcome – for ourselves and for generations to come.”
For more information, visit: https://www.sierrawatch.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Sierra-Watch-White-Wolf-Strategic-Assessment-July-2021.pdf
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, in Squaw Valley, and for other treasured Sierra landscapes. For more information, visit www.sierrawatch.org.