One star Yelp reviews of our national parks changed my mind about KSL’s proposed Mountain Adventure Center.

  • KSL-Changes-Minds-Over-Water-Park

by Treas Manning

My nephew Ryan, posted an article from The Onion. The article referred to one star Yelp reviews of our national parks. Ryan warned me, “this will either infuriate you or make you laugh out loud.” It did both.

In the end the one star reviews left me speechless. But then I started re-thinking KSL’s planned gargantuan Mountain Adventure Center. Maybe a ten story Walmart sized indoor water park and mountain-like play area is not a bad idea after all.

You see I kept thinking, I live at one of the most beautiful ski areas in the world, Squaw Valley. The entrance to Squaw Valley sits along the Truckee River and Lake Tahoe is just a short drive away and can actually be viewed from the top of the ski area. Shirley Canyon and Granite Chief Wilderness rim the ski area boundary. Squaw is surrounded by alpine lakes, waterfalls, bright green meadows filled with wildflowers and massive slabs of granite. Why do we need an indoor water park and mountain adventure playground?

The one star reviews of Yosemite, Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon really opened my eyes. I remember long ago on a warm summer day, a group of friends and I were playing among on the massive boulders on Lake Tahoe. Clowning around, I stumbled and scrapped up my knee. Thank goodness I didn’t tumble into the aqua blue water and get all wet, that would have been a disaster. It dawned on me, my little accident wouldn’t have happened at the Mountain Adventure Center. I would have been protected by guardrails and ranger like employees advising me to slow down and watch my step. It wouldn’t be possible to accidentally fall into the water as I would have to wait my turn with hundreds of others to climb the stairs to the top of the slide and purposely enter the water.

Not only that, but no worries of sunburn, and mosquitos. If I grow bored of the chlorinated cement rivers I could venture over to the indoor climbing wall or try my hand at the game arcade. I wouldn’t have to pack a bag lunch, I could have a burger served to me as I sunbathed under the florescent lights on a perfectly manicured artificial lawn for only twenty bucks or so.

Frankly this water park/mountain center idea might be a great one. In fact, we might want to consider building a few more around the lake. Emerald Bay might be a sweet spot. We could actually build a water slide straight from the parking lot that empties right out into the lake, or a zip line to Fannette Island. Let’s gut Volkingsholm and build a climbing wall, restaurant/bar, and movie theater. Why not turn one of the wings into a daycare center, it’s nice to get away from the kids on a family vacation.

Yep, I know I am going to make a lot of locals mad, but I have changed my mind. I am a newborn water park enthusiast. To hell with nature, what’s it done for us, no snow then too much snow. Wildflowers that grow like weeds, tree pollen, and damn it I have a family of grouse living right in my yard. I am over this natural beauty thing. I owe a big thanks to KSL for opening my eyes to the possibilities of a non-natural, safer experience.

Oh, but I do have one request, I’m going to need a little cable car built from my house to the Mountain Adventure Center, I hate walking down that hill.

Link to Article on The Onion

citize science application

Are you headed to the lake today? A freshman computer science major won a competition at UC Davis for the best app proposal with his idea for the new smartphone app, “Citizen Science Tahoe”. The UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research Center jumped on his proposal and launched the new app which may help scientists collect observational data from Lake Tahoe that can be shared in a database allowing scientists to have a better understanding of varying conditions in locations all around the lake.

If you would like to be a citizen scientist, you can download the app at and start recording your observations. With the Citizen Science Application, the location of the observation, along with the date and time is recorded, and comments and photos can be added and send to the database providing more information on everything you may see at the beach. By submitting your observations more information can be collected to study the lake including information about the water quality, invasive species, algae, and the local wildlife.


Sea surface temperatures along the equatorial Pacific Ocean have risen, hurricane activity in the Atlantic is down, record temperatures have been broken, and above average rainfall has spanned across Southern California. This weather behavior is leading scientists to believe that we may experience a moderate-to-strong El Niño this winter, perhaps being the stronger experienced, comparable to the one that hit us hard back in 1997-1998. The biggest indicators that El Niño may happen this year is the 2015 record breaking temperatures, making it one of the hottest years on record, and the rising sea surface temperatures which typically happens every 2-7 years.

Rising SeaTemperatures 1997 vs. 2015

Rising sea surface temperatures (red) are indicators that a strong El Niño may be on its way. This image compares sea surface temperatures from the 1997 El Niño to temperatures this past July. Image: NOAA

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"D" shows where KSL wishes to build the aquatic center and water park.
-By Tom Mooers

KSL’s proposed development raises a lot of questions about the future of Squaw Valley. For example, what if we end up in the nightmare scenario of too much development and not enough water?

Everywhere we turn this summer, we’re reminded of the value — and the scarcity — of water in the region. Throughout Tahoe, we are living with the challenges of drought and climate change. We see the rafts pulled from the Truckee River. Our creeks run dry. The Tahoe Queen, with 300 passengers on board for a summer cruise, ran aground in July.

Think Mother Nature is trying to tell us something?

Read the rest of the article written by Tom Mooers at Moonshine Ink.