Tahoe Nugget #148
A State of Bliss at Tahoe
September 7, 2008
One of Lake Tahoe's best state parks is named after Duane Leroy Bliss, a nineteenth century timber baron whose logging operations helped clear-cut much of the Tahoe Basin. D.L. Bliss grew rich denuding
Tahoe's old growth timber, but he also valued the basin's natural beauty and realized that he could make money by developing the region's next economy, summer tourism.
To accelerate re-growth after the loggers did their job, Bliss ordered that no trees less than 15 inches wide at the base be cut on his commercial Tahoe timberlands. His unusual foresight and commitment
to the responsible stewardship of Tahoe's natural resources was virtually unheard of at that time. Thanks to Bliss' protection of the smaller trees on his vast property holdings (and a 20-year period of above
average precipitation that began in 1890), a dense forest of young trees ten to twenty feet high soon reestablished much of the lake's scenic beauty.
To entertain, transport, and accommodate the anticipated crowds of summer tourists, Bliss launched the steamer "Tahoe," connected the lake to Truckee with a narrow-gauge railroad where it linked to the
transcontinental line, and he built the luxurious Tahoe Tavern hotel near Tahoe City. It was a successful three-prong approach that launched an unprecedented era of Tahoe tourism.
In 1929, the children of Duane Bliss donated 744 acres of the lake's most scenic land. It is the gift that keeps on giving, revitalizing the spirit of everyone who makes the effort to visit.
For many people, D.L. Bliss State Park is the start to the Rubicon Trail, arguably one the most scenic hiking trails in the basin and the topic of a future Nugget, but the park is also a jewel all on its
own. From the unique Balancing Rock (the top rock weighs about 130 tons – see photo #2) to its pristine beaches and choice camping grounds, a visit to Bliss won't disappoint.
Photo #1: Duane and Elizabeth Bliss
Photo #2: The Balancing Rock
Photo #3: Calawee Cove and Rubicon Point
Photo #4: Lester Beach at Bliss State Park
Photo #5: Man rowing towards Lester
Beach with two Golden Labs