by Alex Gugel , all rights reserved
D. L. Bliss
Brochure of D. L. Bliss and Emerald Bay State Parks (SP) in California. Published by California Department of Parks and Recreation.
D.L. Bliss Emerald Bay s State Parks Our Mission The mission of California State Parks is to provide for the health, inspiration and education of the people of California by helping to preserve the state’s extraordinary biological diversity, protecting its most valued natural and cultural resources, and creating opportunities for high-quality outdoor recreation. Delight your senses— inhale a Jeffrey pine’s vanilla-scented bark, feel lake water chill your toes, taste a grilled trout, hear a breeze rustle California State Parks supports equal access. Prior to arrival, visitors with disabilities who need assistance should contact the park at (530) 525-7232. If you need this publication in an alternate format, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. CALIFORNIA STATE PARKS P.O. Box 942896 Sacramento, CA 94296-0001 For information call: (800) 777-0369 (916) 653-6995, outside the U.S. 711, TTY relay service www.parks.ca.gov D.L. Bliss and Emerald Bay State Parks Hwy. 89 / P.O. Box 266, Tahoma, CA 96142 D.L. Bliss (530) 525-7277 Emerald Bay (530) 541-3030 (summer only) Sierra District Headquarters (530) 525-7232 Cover, back panel, and Eagle Falls photographs courtesy of Ron Maertz © 2001 California State Parks (Rev. 2017) through the pines, and watch bats buzz the beach at twilight. D .L. Bliss and Emerald Bay State Parks include more than six miles of magnificent Lake Tahoe’s west shore, covering 1,830 acres in California’s Sierra Nevada. From the scenic overlook on Highway 89, you can see a brilliant panorama of Emerald Bay, Fannette Island, Lake Tahoe, and the distant Nevada shore. Nearby Eagle Creek cascades over three falls and disappears into the lake. D.L. Bliss State Park is named for a pioneering lumberman, railroad owner, and banker from the region. The Bliss family donated 744 acres to the California State Park System in 1929. The nucleus of Emerald Bay State Park, including Vikingsholm, was sold to the State for half the appraised value by Placerville lumberman Harvey West in 1953. Save the Redwoods League helped raise funds to acquire the land. Emerald Bay was designated a National Natural Landmark by the U.S. Department of the Interior in 1969. Summer temperatures at Tahoe range from highs of 90 degrees during the day to the low 40s at night. Winter temperatures average from a high of 40 degrees to a low of 0. Depending Eagle Falls on the weather, the parks are open from late May through September and are closed during the winter. Heavy Sierra snowfall may temporarily close Highway 89 in winter. PARK HISTORY Native People The Washoe (aboriginal Wašiw) were the first people to inhabit the Lake Tahoe basin and the nearby Sierra Nevada range. Washoe have lived in the Tahoe basin since its beginnings. They traveled seasonally: hunting, fishing, and gathering locally available food. The Washoe moved from the lake they called da-ow-aga to the lower valleys in Nevada and California for the winter. Da-ow-aga is revered as the center of the Washoe world. Between 1848 and 1862, the Washoe people’s estimated 10,000 square miles of lakeside and surrounding land were taken during the gold and silver rushes. New settlers logged off the Sierra range to construct mines and dwellings, altering the environment—contrary to the Washoe values of a healthy environment for the people, water, wildlife, and plants. Their descendants, the Washoe Tribe of California and Nevada, are now engaged in efforts to reclaim portions of their land. The Washoe Tribe operates the Meeks Bay resort and campground concession north of D.L. Bliss State Park. The Washoe people continue to devote their time to their language and culture. The Vikingsholm tour includes the restored summer lodge and interior rooms and concludes with a visit to the sod-roofed garage and carport. Vikingsholm In 1928, Mrs. Lora J. Knight of Santa Barbara purchased this isolated site at the head of Emerald Bay. Knight instructed Lennart Palme, a Swedish-born architect and her nephew by marriage, to design a home for her. Following a trip to Scandinavia, the two decided to use elements found in Norwegian farmsteads and wooden stave churches, without disturbing a single one of the Emerald Bay site’s magnificent trees. Vikingsholm’s construction methods and materials, including granite boulders in the foundations and walls, are the same as those used in ancient Scandinavia. Towers, intricate carvings, and hand-hewn timbers were used to create the home. The sod roofs, with their living grass and flowers, are copied from sites in Norway. Many of the furnishings that Mrs. Knight wanted for Vikingsholm were so historically significant that their export was forbidden by the Norwegian and Swedish governments. She had authentic furnishings duplicated in detail, down to the measurements, colorations, and aging of the wood. Vikingsholm was completed in September 1929. Mrs. Knight spent her summers at the home until her death in 1945. Visitors can take a guided tour of Vikingsholm, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, from Memorial Day through September for a nominal fee. The building is about a mile down a steep pedestrian trail from the parking lot at the Emerald Bay Overlook. Call the Sierra District office in advance at (530) 525-7232 for information about Vikingsholm ADA accessibility. Fannette Island Emerald Bay’s Fannette Island is the only island in Lake Tahoe. A sparsely timbered, brush-covered upthrust of granite that rises 150 feet above the water, Fannette Island was not always known by that name. During the past Underwater preserve, Emerald Bay 100 years, it was known as Eckley’s Island, Coquette Island, Baranoff Island, Dead Man’s Island, Hermit’s Island, and Emerald Isle. Captain Dick Barter, “the Hermit of Emerald Bay,” lived on Dead Man’s Island from 1863 to 1873. He built his own wooden chapel and tomb above the high-water line of the island. In 1873, the captain’s boat was found wrecked at Rubicon Point above deep water; his body was never recovered. In 1929, Lora Knight had a stone tea house, resembling a miniature castle, built on Fannette Island. Mrs. Knight and her guests would take a motorboat to have tea on the island. The tea house had a small corner fireplace with a large oak table and four oak chairs. Vandalism has taken its toll; only the stone shell remains. Underwater Preserve Emerald Bay, long recognized for its spectacular natural beauty, is formed by steep Sierra cliffs that plunge into the narrow bay. The underwater preserve extends around the entrance to the bay and includes Rubicon, Emerald, and Eagle Points. Archaeological data indicates that this prehistoric site includes bedrock mortars, scuttled craft, and at least eight vessels reported to have been lost in the underwater area. As California’s first shipwreck preserve, Emerald Bay’s underwater state preserve was officially opened to the public in September 1994. Wooden cargo barges, constructed of massive ponderosa pine timbers, can be located by a historic site marker buoy on the surface; underwater, the barges are marked with a monument. The historic former site of the Emerald Bay Camp Resort, now the park’s boat camp, has 12 small craft sunk at their moorings: a launch, lapstrake motorboat, sailboat, metal kayak, hard chine fishing boat, and several Y-back rowboats. NATURAL RESOURCES The grandeur of the parks and their setting came from successive upheavals of the mountain-building processes that raised the Sierra Nevada. Lake Tahoe (from a Washoe word interpreted to mean “edge of the lake”) lies east of the main Sierra crest at more than 6,200 feet elevation. After the mountains rose to the east and west, the lake’s basin was completed by glaciers, massive landslides, and lava seeping from volcanic vents, especially to the north. Emerald Bay was gouged out by glaciers thousands of years ago; the points at the bay’s entrance are terminal glacial moraines. Geologists believe that the granite of Fannette Island resisted the glacial ice. The lake is over 22 miles long, 12 miles wide, and more than 1,600 feet deep. You can see approximately 70 feet into its depths from promontories such as Rubicon Point. The lake level is controlled by a small dam on the Truckee River at Tahoe City. More than 62 streams feed water into the lake, but the Truckee River is the only outflow. The Lake Tahoe basin has a wide variety of trees and plants. Majestic sugar pines grow on the thin granitic soil of D.L. Bliss. The parks also contain ponderosa and Jeffrey pines, incense cedar, Sierra juniper, and black cottonwood. Along the streams grow quaking aspen, alder, willow, mountain Recreational opportunities include camping, hiking, swimming, boating, scuba diving, fishing, and nature viewing in a spectacular environment. dogwood, service berry, and bitter cherry. Wildflowers — such as columbine, leopard lily, bleeding heart, and yellow monkey flower — bloom in season. Chipmunks and Steller’s jays feed and hide among ceanothus, chinquapin, currant, gooseberry, huckleberry, and manzanita. Lucky visitors may spot a bald eagle or an osprey fishing. Monkey flower Lakeview campsite RECREATION Camping, Water Sports, Hiking The parks have more than 250 family campsites, each with a table, food locker, and stove, plus nearby restrooms and hot showers. Although there are no hookups, some sites at D.L. Bliss will accommodate trailers up to 15 feet or motor homes up to 18 feet. Emerald Bay can accommodate trailers up to 18 feet or motor homes up to 21 feet. The D.L. Bliss group campground will accommodate up to 50 people, with a limit of 10 cars. Reserve all campsites by calling (800) 444-7275 or visit www.parks.ca.gov. Twenty primitive campsites are reachable by boat. While the parks themselves have no launching facilities, boats can be launched from private facilities about six miles to the north or south. Scuba diving is allowed in the underwater preserve. Visitors can swim at D.L. Bliss State Park’s Lester and Calawee Cove beaches, at Emerald Bay’s boat camp, and at Vikingsholm. Fish for rainbow, brown, and Mackinaw trout or Kokanee salmon (a landlocked form of the Pacific sockeye) — all successfully introduced into the lake. All anglers aged 16 and over must carry a valid California fishing license. For more information or to purchase a license, visit www.wildlife.ca.gov. During the summer, interpretive programs and activities are scheduled. The Rubicon Trail for hikers follows the scenic lakeshore from Calawee Cove at D.L. Bliss past Vikingsholm to Upper Eagle Point Campground at Emerald Bay. The trail crosses the lower cascades of Eagle Creek and Eagle Falls. Access to the shore of Emerald Bay is limited to boat and foot traffic. ACCESSIBLE FEATURES Parking and restrooms at D.L. Bliss are barrier-free; tour videotapes and visual guides are available at Vikingsholm. Both parks have some wheelchair-accessible campsites. Accessibility is improving; for updates, visit http://access.parks.ca.gov. BEAR ENCOUNTERS Never approach a bear! The American black bears that inhabit the Tahoe region may be colored black, brown, cinnamon, or even blonde. Strict regulations protect the bears and can reduce negative encounters between humans and bears. • Bear-resistant food storage facilities are available at park campgrounds. Cars and coolers are not bear-proof. • All food and refuse, when not actively being used or transported, must be stored in the bear-resistant facilities provided. • Do not store scented items — food, toiletries, or refuse — in vehicles within campgrounds. • Food and refuse that cannot be stored in bearresistant facilities provided must be discarded in a bear-proof dumpster. Black bear cub • If you see a bear in the campground, do not run. Be aggressive; assert your dominance by standing tall and making loud noises to scare the bear away. • In the woods, respect the bear’s territory. Make eye contact, but don’t stare. Pick up small children. Make yourself appear as large as possible. Stay calm and quiet; back away slowly. Bears will often climb a tree if frightened and usually won’t come down as long as humans are present. NEARBY STATE PARKS • Tahoe State Recreation Area ¼ mile east of Tahoe City on Hwy. 28 (530) 583-3074 (summer only) • Ed Z’berg Sugar Pine Point State Park 10 miles south of Tahoe City on Hwy. 89 (530) 525-7982 • Kings Beach State Recreation Area Hwy. 267, Kings Beach on Hwy. 89 (530) 523-3203 PLEASE REMEMBER • Hikers must stay on marked trails. • Smoking is prohibited on trails because of fire danger. • Campfires must be confined to fire rings and stoves provided. Do not gather dead wood, which is recycling back to the earth. Camp hosts have firewood for sale. • All natural and cultural features are protected by law and should not be disturbed, altered, or removed. • Only trained service animals are permitted on trails, on beaches, or in the Vikingsholm area. • Except for service animals, dogs are allowed only in campgrounds, not on trails or beaches. Pets must be kept on a six-foot-maximum leash during the day and in an enclosed vehicle or tent at night. Clean up after all pets. • Jumping and diving into the water from shore, rocks, or piers are not permitted. This park receives support in part through a nonprofit organization. For information contact Sierra State Parks Foundation 1295 North Lake Blvd. P.O. Box 28, Tahoe City, CA 96145 www.sierrastateparks.org D.L. Bliss visitors at Balancing Rock Lester Beach Cr eek to Tahoe City (15 Miles) Rubicon Point on Calawee Cove Beach Rub ic D.L. Bliss State Park 80 to Reno Lighthouse/ Rubicon Trail 141-165 0 L A K E TA H O E AREA Truckee 1 0 2 2 3 4 4 Mi 6 Km 28 267 6600' l l Tra i Burton Creek SP (undeveloped) n ico ub Tahoe City R Lighthouse Trail Balancing Rock Nature Trail Kings Beach Carnelian Bay 89 Agate Bay ous eT rai Lighth 113-130 Balancing Rock Old Lighthouse Accessible Viewpoint Ridge Campground 91-112 Park Residences Kings Beach SRA (self-guided) Tahoe SRA/ Gatekeeper’s Museum Sunnyside 6400' 1-90 Pines Campground Lake 28 Tahoe McKinney Homewood Bay UNDE Check-in Station CALIFORNIA NEVADA Group Camp ER RWAT Meeks Bay Lake Meeks Bay Rubicon Bay Tahoe 50 Glenbrook Cove Tahoma Ed Z’berg Sugar Pine Point SP 28 Zephyr Cove Emerald Bay D.L. Bliss SP 50 Emerald Bay SP 00 ' (cl Service Yard ed os 76 00 ' (closed to public) to 7800' 8000' pu bl Cascade Lake PR ES ERVE Park Headquarters and Visitor Center Park Entrance 74 Dogs are allowed only in campgrounds, not on trails or beaches. South Lake Tahoe 89 Fallen Leaf Lake ic ) Meyers Upper Echo Lake 00 ' ' 00 00 66 68 72 Lower Echo Lake 50 ' D. L. B L I S S S TAT E PA R K 89 1982 AV A L A N C H E AREA Legend Major Road 7000 Paved Road ' Unpaved Road Hiking Trail Emerald Point Eagle Point Accessible Feature ' 15 MPH throughout the entire bay 00 84 d Campfire Center Campground Ro a 8600' 1982 AVA L A N C H E PAT H Boat Camp il Vik i Tr a n Rub i co Pier Ea Lower An Fannette Island ne Zo or ch (U.S. Forest Service) Parson Rock g le Eagle Falls eek Cr e agl Fal ls Tra il Vikingsholm Visitor Center E Group Picnic Area Emerald Bay Lighthouse (sightseeing only, no camping) Locked Gate Trail E M E R A L D B AY S TAT E PA R K Upper Eagle Point Campground Tea House Nature Trail Rubicon Trail 1-33 Park Building Park Headquarters P Showers Park Entrance on bic Ru il Tra 66 00 Swimming ' Trailhead Viewpoint 64 00 7600' 0' Inspiration Point Bayview Campground (U.S. Forest Service) 0 0.25 0.5 Miles 0 0.4 0.8 Kilometers 660 720 7400' 0' ' 7000' Parking Restrooms 15 MPH throughout the entire bay 1955 LANDSLIDE AREA Group Campground Mooring Buoys Underwater Barge and Buoy 1980 LANDSLIDE PAT H Fishing 34-97 de lm Vikingsholm Area open for day use only Pier Trail Emerald Bay Overlook Eagle Falls Picnic Area e vic Campsites Diving Lower Eagle Point Campground Ca sca r Se o sh ng Caution: Shallow Water Ro ad State Park 14-50 Fir e Emerald Bay Underwater Preserve to South Lake Tahoe (8 Miles) Waterfall © 2008 California State Parks (Rev. 2017)