A sea of poppies and other wildflowers
Michelle O'Herron

Collaborative Conversation: Visitor Capacity, Congestion, and Visitor Experience in the Lake Tahoe Basin, Point Lobos State Park and Muir Woods National Monument


In June 2018, staff from the Lake Tahoe Basin, the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Tamalpais Lands Collaborative and Point Lobos gathered at Muir Woods National Monument for a conversation on visitor capacity, public access, and traffic management. Muir Woods recently eliminated a large percentage of road-side parking along the narrow entrance to the park and implemented a reservation system for parking after overcrowding and traffic in the monument came to an untenable level. In Lake Tahoe, managers are facing a similar situation on their roadways and recreation areas basin-wide, particularly in hot spot attractions such as Emerald Bay State Park. Point Lobos is experiencing similar challenges with managing increased visitor use.

As Lake Tahoe and Point Lobos explore solutions to its congestion and resource protection challenges, staff found it very valuable to learn from the approaches used at Muir Woods, including (1) how the Monument looked at capacity and its effect on visitor experience, (2) what infrastructure changes were made to meet the changed visitor management approach at the Monument, (3) how the public engagement process was designed, specifically its adaptability to community and political issues and the hiring of a dedicated individual, and (4) key lessons learned on the public rollout of the new system.



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