Future of Kings Beach topic of town hall meeting

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Future of Kings Beach topic of town hall meeting

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As management switches hands for the Kings Beach State Recreation Area along Tahoe's North Shore, there's been concern about the possibility of seasonal closures to the popular site.

Come November, the Kings Beach area will be managed and operated by California State Parks and the California Tahoe Conservancy. Since 1978, the North Tahoe Public Utility District has maintained the site.

Vicky Waters a spokesperson for California State Parks says despite any confusion, there's no seasonal closure being considered.

"We have no plans to close the park," Waters explains. "We have no plans to close the parking lot or restrict any access or availability to these lands any time during the year."

Waters also says there will be no loss of services due to the transition.

Paul Schultz is general manager for the North Tahoe Public Utility District. He says he's received written correspondence from the State saying there will be a seasonal closure and nothing in writing to indicate the contrary:

"If they're not willing to put it in writing, then they're not willing to stand behind it. I have a lot of people making empty promises verbally, but I asked for an answer in writing and I'm not getting anything in writing."

Schultz says closing the park for the winter months would limit public access to the lake and leave no parking for the North Tahoe Event Center.

In order to keep the Kings Beach parking lot plowed during the winter and to avoid losing those parking spaces, the State is exploring a right of entry permit with the North Tahoe Public Utility District, but Schultz says the State is trying to push that cost onto the District.

"[California] State Parks has sent us for our review a right of entry permit that we don't like--we don't accept--and we will send our comments back to them," Schultz explains. "But one of those items is that we have to pay a license fee to the state to enter the property in order to do snow plowing in the winter that would be at our expense."

California state and local officials, including State Senator Ted Gaines, are gathering Thursday for a town hall meeting to discuss the future of Kings Beach. Gaines co-authored Senate Bill 832 which proposes keeping the site open year-round and allowing the District to continue managing the area.

Vicky Waters with California State Parks says tonight's meeting provides an opportunity to dispel any misinformation and to gather public input on improving services at the park.

Thursday's town hall meeting is from 6-8 PM at the North Tahoe Event Center.