Camping is booming in the Tahoe Basin this summer.
The number of campsites in the region has grown by 30 percent in the past year and occupancy is growing by 50 percent, according to the National Park Service.
The National Park System is expecting more than 1.2 million visitors to Tahoe this year, up from 1.1 million the year before, said Tom O’Connor, director of the National Parks Conservation Association, which operates the park system.
More than 60,000 people have visited Yosemite, Yosemite Valley, and the nearby national park system in recent years, said Sarah Kocher, a spokeswoman for the National Snow and Ice Data Center.
But the region’s population has been falling for years, she said, and more people are arriving in the Bay Area, Los Angeles and other areas.
There is also a strong demand for space, she added.
“This is the most densely populated area in the country,” Koccher said.
“And we have to accommodate that demand.”
The Tahoe Area Conservation Council, which coordinates the area’s efforts to preserve wilderness and preserve natural beauty, said last year that camping was a big part of the Tahoes tourism draw.
It has become a big draw for campers to the region, as well as for families, which have taken advantage of the cheap rent, the park’s “green” theme, and its abundance of trails, streams and other natural areas, said Kim Clements, the group’s chief operating officer.
“People are coming because of the opportunities that are available in the park,” Clements said.
“There is a lot of opportunity for the next generation to come here and experience these areas for the first time, and have the opportunity to camp and experience a different experience.”
Camping in TahoesThe park system has about 1,200 campsites, which are usually on private property and not managed by the National Recreation and Park Service, which regulates the area.
There are about 1.8 million registered campers, or about one out of every four people in the area, according the NPS.
The national park’s official campground designation is the Grand Tahoe Campground, which includes three separate campsites along a ridge near the city of Grand Junction, about 100 miles east of Tahoe.
The Grand Tahoos, whose name translates to “Great Big Lake of the Sun,” are among the most popular destinations for tourists in the United States.
They’re also the most heavily visited in the entire country, with about 2.7 million visits each year, according in a recent NPS report.
A few campsites on the ridge are managed by volunteers, who rent space from the state and who are able to provide security and clean-up after overnight visitors, said Emily Skelton, a member of the park staff.
The NPS is currently negotiating a new lease with the Grand Lake Campground to keep the campsites open for camp visitors until the end of 2021.