Outdoor Writer
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The mountain resort of Squaw Valley was bought by KSL Capital Partners in 2010.
The company’s current plans for their Village at Squaw include a future development that goes beyond the size of anything before seen in North Lake Tahoe, one that could turn the quiet mountain community into a resort comparable to an amusement park. So says Keep Squaw True , a campaign started by Sierra Watch, an organization trying to preserve and protect the Sierra Nevada mountains. They’re fighting back against this massive expansion by rallying volunteers, spreading awareness, and petitioning against KSL’s plans.

Squaw Valley is one of the the Lake Tahoe region’s most valued treasures. Sitting between Tahoe City and Truckee, Calif., it is just far enough out of the way to be a low-key mountain paradise, while still attracting plenty of visitors. The skiing and riding is unparalleled and the scenery is awe inspiring – simple as that. And the folks who live there, or enjoy visiting, are determined to keep it that way. There is no question that Squaw Valley is home to one of the most pleasant and inviting mountain communities, but if there’s anything they are not welcoming to, it’s KSL’s attempt to develop Squaw Valley into a prepackaged “wonderland” reminiscent of Disney World.

KSL is requesting Placer County to allow them 25 years of development. This will include a 90,000-square-foot, 96-foot tall indoor water park with water slides, water skiing, fake rivers, arcades, and a massive 30-lane bowling alley. Along with that, they plan to have 1,493 new bedrooms in a series of high-rise condominium hotels, which may be up to 100 feet tall. They are also planning for 21 timeshare mansions on undeveloped land with an army of 30,000-gallon propane tanks. All this would turn Squaw Valley into something it was never intended to be.

The goal to strike down KSL’s big-time development plans may be a tall order. There’s a long road ahead of Sierra Watch, but luckily they have passion on their side, along with a whole community and network of supporters. Sierra Watch is working with thousands of individuals, businesses, and conservation organizations with a common goal to keep Squaw true to its roots. And the cause only grows bigger by the day – even you can get on board by signing the Keep Squaw True petition.

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On August 11th, Placer County will hold a Planning Commission hearing, where the commission will hear the recommendation to deny KSL’s plans for expansion. The recommendation will be given by the Squaw Valley Municipal Advisory Council, a group of local Squaw Valley residents.

“Now is the time,” Tom Mooers, executive director of Sierra Watch told us. “If people care about the future of North Lake Tahoe, this is the time to get involved. Anyone who can come to the hearing should be there, or find a way to get involved. This is an opportunity to stand up for our mountain, and be a part of the next big conservation victory in the Sierra Nevadas.”

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Sierra Watch produced the below video as a part of their Keep Squaw True campaign, and I highly suggest you check it out. “KSL’s proposed development threatens everything we love about Tahoe and the Sierra,” added Isaac Silverman, also of the Sierra Watch. “This movie is a quick way to learn more about what’s at stake – and find out how to get involved.”

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