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Thousands Gather For Tahoe Summit, Obama Visit

Julia Ritchey

President Obama says the extraordinary efforts that have been put into healing Lake Tahoe over the past two decades prove it is possible to pass on the nation's greatest natural treasures to future generations.

Obama spoke at the 20th annual Lake Tahoe Summit Wednesday.  

He said leaders of the Native American Washoe Tribe, which has called Tahoe its home for thousands of years, had it right when they said the health of the land and the health of the people are tied together.

"It's no wonder that for thousands of years this place has been a spiritual one. For the Washoe people, it is the center of their world," Obama says. "And just this space is sacred to Native Americans, it should be sacred to all Americans."

Senators Harry Reid of Nevada and Dianne Feinstein of California are praising the unprecedented, bipartisan work that has been done to protect Lake Tahoe over the past two decades.

Reid opened the summit saying that thanks to nearly $2 billion used to reverse a decline in lake clarity since 1997, Tahoe is now more pristine than it has been in decades.

Feinstein echoed his support for efforts to conserve the Alpine lake. 

"I'm proud to say that $1.9 billion has been spent on the renewal of this lake so far," she says. "500 projects have been completed and some 20 more are in the works."

The summit took place at an outdoor arena on the lake's south shore where President Barack Obama delivered the keynote address.

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