The Lake Tahoe Basin´s economy is based largely on tourism, and to help boost this base, a high-quality recreation experience is paramount. Recreation experiences are influenced by the four seasons, state of the economy, and local weather. From skiing and snowboarding, to kayaking and parasailing - Lake Tahoe has it all, but there is a delicate balance to achieve between public access to recreation and environmental preservation. Recreational activities can have an impact on water, air, wildlife, transportation and scenic quality of the Lake Tahoe Basin, and vice-versa. Together, land management agencies
can provide recreational access without impinging on the environmental quality that brings so many visitors to the shores of Lake Tahoe.
Recreation participants have many common interests, but the emotional and spiritual revelation gained by participating in recreation pursuits cannot be easily defined. Whether it is the construction of a facility, purchasing of open space, or implementation of policy, recreation is a resource for the Lake Tahoe visitor or resident affording relaxation and enjoyment. Additionally, recreation is not merely play-time, but a societal pursuit that directly translates into the foundation of the Tahoe Basin's primary economy: tourism.
Recreation planning is unique in the Tahoe Basin. Most planning is designed to limit development, while recreation planning strives to enhance development for public access to the Basin's recreational facilities. Access to recreation opportunities and the development of diverse recreational facilities are ever increasing concerns as visitation levels rise with the population booms in California and Nevada. These population increases correspond with an increased demand for access to Lake Tahoe shores and other public lands for recreational activities. Additionally, the increase in resident population of the Lake Tahoe Basin contributes to a greater demand for urban recreational facilities, such as swimming pools and ball-fields.
There are principally three types of recreational opportunities: dispersed, developed, and urban. Dispersed recreational activities include hiking, jogging, primitive camping, nature study, fishing, cross country skiing, rafting/kayaking and swimming activities, which typically do not require the use of improved facilities. Developed recreation involves activities enhanced by the use of built facilities, such as campgrounds, marinas, and ski resorts. Indoor and outdoor urban recreation facilities are primarily designed for use by the residents of the region, such as athletic fields and neighborhood parks.