Destination stewardship for Lake Tahoe

We’re working with the Center for Responsible Travel (CREST) and Better Destinations to support the Tahoe region in the USA to develop a shared vision around how tourism is managed and improve its impact on the environment, local communities, businesses and visitors.


The Lake Tahoe region is experiencing increased visitor numbers and the impact of this is affecting the local and wider environment, quality of life for the communities who live and work in the area and the experience for visitors.

While many destinations saw tourism ground to a halt during COVID, visitor numbers surged around the Lake Tahoe and Truckee region, causing many unprecedented issues including an increase in plastic waste, overcrowding and pollution. A multi-sector coordinated response to COVID in the region demonstrated the power of collaboration, and spurred the initiative to come together to manage the region sustainably and in partnership into the future.

Project aim

The project hopes to reach a shared vision, enabling environment and an actionable roadmap through community engagement to improve destination stewardship outcomes in the Lake Tahoe region.

Partners: We are part of a consortium on this project which includes the Center for Responsible Travel (CREST) as lead managing partner, Better Destinations as lead strategist, SMG Consulting as research and economic strategist and Civitas as funding strategist. The local partners are made up of 13 public and private organizations from around the greater Tahoe region, including Truckee.

Our role

We are helping to develop the Lake Tahoe Destination Stewardship Plan.

We will lead the development of an ‘Optimal Value’ framework (OVF). The OVF is a strategic approach that can be used to help destination stakeholders work together to understand and optimize the value of tourism for their community.

The framework helps identify the strategic levers that increase the benefits of tourism and minimize the cost or negative impacts of tourism in a destination. The aim is to understand costs and benefits across four desired “well-being” states: economic, environmental, social, and cultural, and use this knowledge for better collaboration and decision-making.

We are also involved in all aspects of the project’s stakeholder engagement processes to steer the analysis and development of the OVF and to help guide tourism in Tahoe into the future.

Planned activities

  • Review the state of tourism in the Lake Tahoe region, including Truckee. The analysis will include review of existing data, development of visitor survey and profiles and a SWOT analysis.
  • Stakeholder engagement. This stage includes multiple methods of gathering input from community stakeholders from public and private organizations, to residents, businesses and underrepresented communities.
  • Two rounds of public visioning workshops. The first will focus on gathering community input on vision and the second will look at gathering community input on the Lake Tahoe Destination Stewardship Plan.
  • Develop the long-term shared vision and values for the future of recreation and tourism in the greater Lake Tahoe region. Tasks include scenario planning for various visitor profiles, economic modelling for funding strategies and an overall planning framework that includes the shared vision and values to guide plan implementation. This work includes our Optimal Value Framework.
  • Visioning session involving the core team members to review findings from all stages of the process.
  • Deliver an implementation roadmap to guide decision making, including drafting objectives and timeline. The roadmap will include performance metrics and a funding feasibility study to sustainably achieve the plan’s objectives.

PFDarrowarrow_downarrow_down_circlearrow_down_cirlcearrow_down_rounded_whitearrow_leftarrow_rightarrow_right_whitearrow_upboatbookbriefcase_areaofwork-newbriefcase_areaofworkcase_studyclock_datecloseclose_cross copyclose_crossclose_cross_blueconversation_discussion-01conversation_discussiondata_collectiondecision_makingdown-arrow-whitedownloadearthemailenergyenvironmentfacebookgroup_peoplehandshake-newhandshakehandshake_partnerknowledgelocal_producelocation_pointer-newlocation_pointerlogo_whitemap-iconmap_iconnews_blognumber0number1number2number3number4number5number6number7number8number9organisationpdfphone-call-whitephone-callpluspositive-actionpositive_actionproject-reportproject_reportrecycle_sustainable-01research_impactreturnright-arrow-dark-bluesearchsend-symbol-whitesend-symbolsingle_persontickresearch_impactresearch_impactresearch_impactresearch_impacttwitterwastewaterweb_resourcewhite_paperworking_togetheryoutubezoom