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Although discovery of gold in the South Fork of the American River in 1848 was the initial draw that caused western-bound pioneers to pass by Lake Tahoe, by 1858 a new resource had been identified within the Lake Tahoe Basin: timber. From 1858 until 1890, extensive logging in the Lake Tahoe basin removed nearly all of the area’s forest. The timber was used to support the underground workings of the Comstock mines. The area is still recovering from that massive deforestation to this day.
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|Lots of Water:
Lake Tahoe is fed by 63 streams and 2 hot springs but inversely only has 1 outlet, the Truckee River. According to research, with a volume of 39 trillion gallons of water, if the Lake was ever drained it would take approximately 700 years to fill the lake entirely.
|Massive Amounts of Snow:
Donner Summit, just West of Truckee and home to Sugar Bowl Mountain, holds the record for the United States’ snowiest April. On April 1, 1880, a storm cycle dumped 4 feet of snow on the Sierra Nevada west slope within 24 hours. A massive snow slide near Emigrant Gap buried Central Pacific Railroad’s tracks under 75 feet of snow, ice and rock. For the rest of the month, storm cycles continued to flow in, dropping a total of 298 inches on the Sierra Nevada, the most April snow anywhere in U.S. history.
The 1960 winter Olympics at Squaw Valley were the first Games to be held in the Western United States. There were many other “firsts” that occurred that year: these were the first games to be televised, the first time computers were used to tabulate results, the first time a woman took the Olympic oath on behalf of all the athletes, and the first time all competing athletes were housed under one roof. This was also the first time the U.S. won a gold medal in ice hockey. In midst of the Cold War, all of America held their breath as they watched the United States Olympic hockey team defeat the Russians to win the Gold with a close 3-2 victory.
In 1939, eccentric George Whittell finished building an estate in Zephyr Cove known as the Thunderbird Lodge. He occasionally hosted high-stakes poker games there, and participants included National Baseball Hall of Famer Ty Cobb. Although in his later years Whittell preferred not to socialize much (he built a 600 ft tunnel on the Thunderbird Lodge premises so that he could pass from the main residence to the boathouse unseen), he did host Cobb, Howard Hughes and others for poker games in his Card House.
* Lake Tahoe is the second deepest lake in the U.S. with a depth of 1,645 ft (501 m)
*At its longest and widest, Lake Tahoe measures 22 miles (35 km) by 12 miles (19km)
* The shoreline circumference of the lake is 72 miles (116km)
* The average surface elevation is 6,225 ft (1,897 m) above sea level
* Lake Tahoe is 2/3 in California and 1/3 in the state of Nevada
* There are 63 tributaries draining into Lake Tahoe with only one outlet at the Truckee River in Tahoe City.
* The sun shines at Lake Tahoe for 75% of the year, or 274 days.
* At lake level, annual snowfall averages 125 inches. At alpine skiing elevations, the snowfall averages 600 inches per year.
* At the surface, Lake Tahoe’s water temperature varies from 41 to 68 degrees F. Below a depth of 600 to 700 ft, the water remains a constant 39 degrees.
* If you were to pour Lake Tahoe out onto an area the size of California, the water would still be 14 inches (36 cm) deep.
* The amount of water in Lake Tahoe (39 trillion gallons) is enough to supply each person in the U.S. with 50 gallons of water per day for 5 years.
* The amount of water that evaporates from the Lake each day (330 million gallons) could supply a city the size of Los Angeles for 5 years.
|Lake Tahoe Statistics: