TahoeLand

A Society, Culture and Travel podcast
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Invasive shrimp are threatening Lake Tahoe. These are not the big white and orange crustaceans you get in a taco or on top of pasta. They’re called Mysis shrimp, and they’re voracious invaders that threaten Tahoe’s blue hue. If they stay and multiply, it’ll be hard to keep Tahoe from turning green. But if we remove them, they might also help other communities unlock climate change solutions. And the shrimp aren’t alone. They are joined by other invasive species, including three pound goldfish and cannibalistic bullfrogs.
Lake Tahoe is perhaps the most popular lake in the West. It sits at around 7,000 feet and attracts some 29 million visitors a year — more than three times Yosemite and Yellowstone national parks combined. What people don’t know is that the lake’s blue hue is also a barometer of how climate change is impacting our world.  
Climate change isn’t just altering how people experience Lake Tahoe, it’s also impacting animals. And perhaps the most prominent victim are the kings of the forest: bears.  Part of the problem is there is not a top-down, unified approach for how to keep black bears out of our garbage and trash. Our leftovers and waste lead to human-bear interactions — and that’s ultimately bad news for bears. Bears in Tahoe are also hibernating less — if at all. And it’s not just the black bears feeling the impact of climate change — polar bears, grizzlies and other bears around the world are at risk. 
A new culture of rock climbers is overtaking Yosemite, including rock stars like Alex Honnold and Tommy Caldwell, who are pushing the sport to the edge by climbing with no ropes. In this episode, Ezra chats with rock climbing legends, explores how gyms are diversifying who climbs, and gets out on the rock near Glacier Point. He also talks with women climbers who are leading the way.
A common theme CapRadio’s Ezra David Romero hears while hanging out in Tahoe is residents disappointed that their elected official in Congress does not believe in human-caused climate change. If 97 percent of climate scientists agree that climate-warming trends over the past century are very likely due to human activities, why aren’t politicians doing more about it?  This perceived disconnect has caused people you wouldn't expect to jump into the political game and run for local office. And they’re running under the banner of doing something about climate change. But don’t worry: This episode doesn’t go too far into the weeds when it comes to politics. It is also about seeing the lake differently. What if we thought of Lake Tahoe as part of our identity, instead of just a place we visit?
We won’t have an episode on Labor Day, but we want to hear from you! Why? For our final episode, which will drop in a couple weeks. Is there a issue we neglected to discuss? Or did you want to hear more about a particular topic? Any creative ideas about how to remedy an issue like traffic or overcrowding? If so, shoot Ezra a voice memo or a note at ezra.romero@capradio.org.
We’ve explored Yosemite Valley a lot — for good reason. It’s an outdoor wonderland where people raft, hike and climb cliffs. In this episode, Ezra tours Yosemite Valley on a "green dragon" — an open-air tour bus — and also learns about rock falls and why historic places in the park have been renamed. He also visits what people call Yosemite Valley’s "twin sister." It’s a place that John Muir fought to preserve — but he lost that battle.
In this final episode of YosemiteLand, Ezra answers listener questions! He follows up with characters from previous episodes, and talks about everything from rock-climbing safety to remedies for parking and congestion.
It's peak tourist season, but the most popular spot in Yosemite is eerily quiet. There are no hikers on trails or climbers on cliffs in the Valley. For the first time in nearly 30 years, a wildfire has closed major portions of the park due to heavy smoke. Yosemite Valley will remain shut indefinitely. In this episode, Ezra looks at the future of fire in Yosemite. He hikes with a scientist studying how climate change could drastically transform its landscape, talks with the park's first female fire chief, and learns about life growing up in a fire zone.
Tahoe’s identity as a winter wonderland is in jeopardy. One of the most noticeable signs of warming temperatures in Tahoe are changes to the snowpack. Specifically, researchers forecast a lot less of it some years and a ton more other years. That has huge ramifications for everything from businesses that rely on snow to Olympians figuring out how to practice their winter sports.
For more than four decades, the Ahwahneechee people — the Native Americans with ties to Yosemite Valley — had no place to call home. Now, one of their villages is being resurrected. In this episode, Ezra meets with elders who say park service workers burned down their homes. They also discuss how they hope to preserve their heritage for future generations. During his reporting, Ezra realizes Yosemite is more than a cool hiking destination: It’s a very spiritual place.  
Climate change is impacting everyday life for Lake Tahoe’s locals: Rich and poor, old timers and newcomers. These year-round residents, whose jobs are often to make sure tourists enjoy Tahoe, are being forced to adapt in order to make it. For some, it's heart wrenching. But for others, it’s giving them a new vision for Tahoe’s future.
The TahoeLand team is busy working on the next episode which is all about Tahoe’s tourist economy. Here’s a sneak peek of what’s coming next week.
Lake Tahoe is a jewel in the Sierra Nevada that attracts more visitors annually than Disneyland. But climate change threatens to transform the region by the century’s end. In Capital Public Radio’s TahoeLand podcast, host Ezra David Romero takes us into the mountains to explore how Tahoe is a unique petri dish for climate-science research — and how it holds lessons that will help us confront the global climate crisis. Episodes coming August 8.
The podcast team was in Tahoe this week doing a special live taping of our final episode, so we won’t have one for you this week. Ezra asked many of the people you’ve heard throughout the podcast: what’s next? What solutions are on the horizon? Stay tuned for that and our politics episode coming soon!
As tourism increases in Yosemite, how is the park’s identity — its sense of place — changing? In YosemiteLand’s debut episode, Ezra orders Starbucks while taking in majestic waterfalls, meets researchers studying how people experience the park, and looks at how Yosemite’s planners are rethinking popular destinations to make them more sustainable. You’ll encounter a bear up close, and Ezra will visit some of Yosemite’s oldest inhabitants: giant sequoias. In a previous version of this episode Ezra mispronounced Kara Stella’s name and title. It’s been corrected. She is a ranger.
This is our last episode of TahoeLand. I know, it’s really sad. But this season has come to an end. And to celebrate, we hosted a live podcast taping in South Lake. This is a shorter version of that 90-minute event. We invited listeners to join us at a resort called Edgewood Tahoe. There were these floor-to-ceiling windows that revealed a panorama of the lake. This live version of TahoeLand is a little different — and a little longer — than our other episodes. You’ll hear from scientists, city leaders and a story or two from locals who feel they’ve been left out of the climate-crisis conversation. I hope you enjoy it.
Hey everyone, Episode 6 will be out Tuesday. In the meantime, here's a taste.
YosemiteLand is about how decisions made today in Yosemite National Park will impact millions of visitors in the years to come. It's a region learning how to deal with a changing environment and increased tourism. Listen for a preview of this new podcast from Capital Public Radio. We'll release our first episodes July 16.
Traffic in Yosemite during peak tourist months is often compared to rush hour in Los Angeles. Some visitors will often drive around for hours and never find a parking spot. The bottleneck is so bad, it’s now part of Yosemite’s identity. That’s why we’re dedicating our second episode of YosemiteLand to the seemingly intractable problem of gridlock. Join Ezra as he sits in a snarl-up of tourists and learns how all these cars put wildlife at risk. He’ll also explore solutions that could make your future visits less miserable — and help sustain the park. In a previous version of this episode Ezra mislabeled Ryan Leahy and Caitlin Lee-Roney’s titles. They have been corrected. Ryan Leahy is a wildlife biologist in the park, and Caitlin Lee-Roney is the lead wildlife biologist for Yosemite National Park.
Hey listeners, we’re still hustling away on Episode 5. In the meantime, check out this teaser.
Like many major U.S. tourist destinations, Yosemite is dealing with a housing-affordability problem and the arrival of short-term rentals like Airbnb. Many people are turning their homes into vacation rentals. It’s good for tourism. But some neighbors aren’t happy, and area residents say it's often difficult to find a place to rent. Potential employees aren’t taking jobs in the park, and many existing employees face long commutes. In this episode, Ezra speaks with residents who are dealing with the housing issue in the Yosemite area.
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Podcast Details

Started
Jul 10th, 2018
Latest Episode
Oct 10th, 2019
Release Period
Weekly
No. of Episodes
23
Explicit
No

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