The once feared and controversial roundabout in Meyers has been embraced by a number of residents. It’s a great place to heckle tourists.
Thousands of motorists who descended Echo Summit on Highway 50 on Friday were greeted by protesters, most of whom displayed signs encouraging respect for Lake Tahoe.
“I used to love when the tourists came up, said Cynthia Poindexter, who has lived at South Shore for 46 years. “Now they come here and show no respect for us. All they care about is themselves nowadays. The traffic never stops. The noise never stops.”
There were five protests on Friday around Tahoe: Meyers, Truckee, Tahoe City, Kings Beach and Incline Village. More protests are planned for 9 a.m. Sunday.
Gridlock is a perennial summertime occurrence at Tahoe. But the behavior by visitors during the pandemic of 2020 has been disturbing. There have been 79 Covid-19 cases confirmed in the last two weeks at South Shore. Visitors rarely wear masks and beaches have been trashed. Pedestrians frequently wander across the streets — and not in the crosswalks — in Stateline’s Casino Corridor.
“I am here to inform the tourists to keep their (expletive) trash off of our beaches,” said Chris Caspary-Bugely, a “Barton Baby,” who wore a Tahoe hat, shirt and held a sign reading “Keep Tahoe Blue.”
“I’ve lived here all my life and this is one of the worst summers I’ve seen,” he said. “Our infrastructure cannot support this. We used to have time to catch our breaths between weekends. Now it’s Monday to Monday.”
Mary Palin, who has lived at Tahoe for 36 years, said she was out “to send a message of respect for Tahoe life and the people who live here.”
Others who attended were not as polite. Signs read, “Go Home!,” “Welcome to a Covid Hotspot,” “Your Entitlement Sucks!” and “Tourists Go Away.”
“I am really glad that almost every (local) here is wearing a mask,” said Kathi Jensen, who has lived at Tahoe 41 years. “It models the behavior we’d like to see. I don’t mind tourists coming here. Just respect our home. We’re kidding ourselves if we don’t think we need tourism.”
Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority Chairman Jerry Bindel attended, advocating mutual respect from residents and tourists. He acknowledged behavior from some of the visitors is disturbing.
“We are even hearing it from our own people. We all say, ‘Wow!’ People have been pent up for five months. We are struggling to find that nice balance. I want to talk to locals to see how we can solve this problem. … (And) to send a message to visitors to respect, pack it in, pack it out. If a Dumpster is full, don’t just leave your trash next to it. Bears will get it.”