Vision / FAQ

Mission:  Accelerate the adoption of geotourism (destination stewardship) by; connecting, facilitating, and promoting geotourism models throughout the Tahoe Truckee Watershed.

Geographic Region Served:  South Lake to Pyramid Lake (the entire Tahoe/Truckee  Watershed).

Back Story:
May 2007, Jacquie Chandler attended a Tourism Conference in South Lake Tahoe where Jonathan Tourtellot, the Executive Director for National Geographic Center for Sustainable Destinations (NGCSD) gave a presentation on Geotourism. By the end of the conference (due to her suggestions on how to start adopting this directive), she was appointed as Tahoe’s Geotourism Liaison. The momentum created from there brought together a wonderful confluence of people who have volunteered their expertise toward this directive. From ferry designers, historians, sustainability experts, educators and more, our volunteer group continue to influence the region toward embracing these outcomes.

Tahoe’s top 3 Challenges

1. 1960’s 2-season Visitor Menu (auto/oil-dependent) requires $$billions in ongoing restoration and mitigation.


2.  $$Billions in mitigation lack full public participation, i.e; Tahoe’s sensitive watershed cannot afford visitors who do not become stewards at some level.


3. Regional Disconnect: Two states, six counties, numerous city and governmental agencies, NGO’s and businesses often work at odds with one another, vs. compete as a region.


60 years of research by UC Davis started by Dr Goldman’s reveal that our recreation, transportation and construction patterns are the key contributors to the degradation of the water quality. Reference: 2010 State of the Lake Report the lake/index.html

“Last ten years it cost $1.4Billion to clean up after ourselves.  It will cost $2.45B for the next ten years” 2010 TRPA Environmental Improvement Program

Our Proposed Solution

1. Create a 21st Century Visitor Menu of 4-season Geotourism Activities that DO NO HARM

is designed around the 12 geotourism principles as specified by National Geographic Center for Sustainable Destinations (NGCSD). The two-day demonstration allows locals and visitors to ‘test-drive’ a 21st Century Geotourism Menu of activities that increase visitor satisfaction, inspire longer stays and stories that increase demand.  Increasing ‘Visitor Satisfaction’ via sustainable tourism models (geotourism) is in the “high priority action” section of the Lake Tahoe Basin Prosperity Plan (LTBPP) Final Report (pg. 57-79).


2. Visitors become stewards when invited to deepen their connection with  Fun, Meaningful (educational), and Low Carbon guided adventures.

People CARE about things they feel CONNECTED to and SHARE at that level of CARING. Passion and love are contagious. Imagine taking a kayak tour through a marshland with a local biologist who can interpret the Eco-system as you paddle through it, enjoying marsh mint while quietly watching wildlife. Or helping to plant Sugarpine seedlings and then sharing the result 20 years later with your child on a return trip. Immersive adventures hosted with love inspire stewardship and this is how we Sustain Tahoe! The $$Billions of funding saved with public participation can be rerouted to support Solar Ferries, transit and pedestrian trails.



Geotourism Implementation Framework (GIF) for key stakeholders on how to implement and deploy Geotourism. using our geotourism curriculum
TriNomics ™ provides a collaborative guide for building GeoTracks:

Geotourism is an international strategy endorsed by five departments of the US Department of the Interior:


Our Role

Sustainable Tahoe’s role is to facilitate alliances and collaboration models that create geotourism success stories. Using our Tahoe Expo as a learn-by-doing model to enroll Agencies, Business and NGO’s on the prosperity benefits of hosting a 4-season community venue on a scale beyond what other public events attempt. The Prosperity Plan.  identifies Geotourism in the ‘Visitor Satisfaction’ cluster to address visitor needs that also serve the environment and economy.

We facilitate alliances and create opportunities for these alliances to collaborate around hosting. Our geotourism expertise is from producing four 150-mile geotourism exposition of stewardship which requires the annual collaboration of 55 to 85 NGO’s, Agencies and Business.Unlike traditional fairs, festivals, Tahoe Expo demonstrates the  feasibility of building a community owned tourism menu using  Sustainable Tahoe operates in the background as a facilitator, rainmaker and clearing house for recasting Tahoe and the rural regions assets that already exist into potential Geotourism attractions

Our strongest asset is our relationship building, especially in the area of our native indigenous people of the Washo and Paiute tribes. Their 10,000 years of stewardship is essential to  geotourism becoming a reality at the lake.  Members of the Washo tribe have participated in every public event Sustainable Tahoe has sponsored and are partners with us in advocating for geotourism and the message of stewardship. Indigenous peoples presence is central to the recovery of Lake Tahoe.



  1. Learn from others. Gloria Bruce from the Northeast Kingdom was one of the first destinations to adopt geotourism. The Northeast Kingdom shares similar assets and challenges, as they have high end resorts and rural farming. They saw the key question to ask themselves was “what do you love and not want to lose and what is one thing you are willing to do?”. This helped them shift from competing to collaborating around highlighting unique assets that attracted visitors to stay longer, explore more, return sooner and share new exciting stories.
  2. Work with sustainability experts. David Hansen, (a Sustainable Tahoe founder), helped Embassy Suites save $400K a year  implementing energy monitoring, composting and other measures in sustainability.  David shared this turn-around model at our 2010 Stewardship Congress to raise awareness and motivate others to lead-by-example:
  3. Education. We created an accredited collaboration between with a resort and a college, when SNC students designed a pilot program of geotourism adventures a South Tahoe resort could develop to increase shoulder season revenue. guided 50 San Jose State University students in how to create geotourism adventures they would like to experience. Here is an example:

TriNomics™ : a collaborative model designed by Sheri Woodsgreen CEO of One Globe Corporation. We facilitate using this TriNomic™ approach of; .GOV, .ORG and .COM to showcase fun, meaningful, and low carbon adventures.

  • Non-Profit / .Org:  Local experts guide Geotours to enrich understanding
  • Agencies/ .Gov: provide grants & access to sensitive and remote areas
  • Business/.Com: sponsor + ‘eat, sleep, shop’, gear & transit (reduced VMT’s )


In 2010 we were honored by Senator Reid for holding the first ever “Stewardship Congress”.  In many cases for the first time,  people representing various conservation and stewardship efforts (the Washoe opened the event) came together to learn, share and transform their projects into geotourism visitor adventures for the 2011 Tahoe Expo.

Geotourism was further confirmed and endorsed by Al Gore at the 2013 Tahoe Executive Summit when he said, ” the future will look at this Lake and either ask, ” Why didn’t you do something?….or “How did you do this?”   And if we succeed in protecting Lake Tahoe our answer will be because we found a way to make political collaboration a renewable resource”