KOLO – Historic Sugar Pine Point State Park worth enjoying and protecting

TAHOMA, Calif. (KOLO) – A sweet retreat on Lake Tahoe’s West shore, Sugar Pine Point State Park offers virtually everything the outdoor – and history – enthusiast would need, with a campground complete with nearby beach access, multiple amenities and long-standing historical sites.

“(It’s) the traditional lands of the Washoe, who made this their summer homes,” said Heidi Doyle, executive director of the Sierra State Parks Foundation. This was actually a homesteading site for William ‘General’ Phipps, where he was given 165 acres of lakeside property by President Lincoln. Later on, it was settled by people who were discovering Lake Tahoe slowly but surely.”

The Park – 10 miles South of Tahoe City – boasts almost two miles of lake frontage and over 12 miles of trails. The vast property’s focal point is the Hellman-Ehrman Mansion, a summer home built in 1903.

“This mansion was built by IW Hellman,” said Doyle. “When he passed away, he was actually the owner of Wells Fargo Bank and one of the wealthiest men in the United States.”

After passing through multiple owners, the home was sold to the State of California and set to be demolished in the 1970s. That’s when the story of the SSPF came to begin, says Doyle.

“Our organization started here in 1974 when a group of local women were upset the state wanted to tear this building down and turn it into a local campground.”

The foundation – which works alongside the California State Parks system to support the eight in the Tahoe/Donner region – also staffs guides for the Hellman-Ehrman Mansion’s daily tours. They also host multiple events on the grounds of Sugar Pine Point State Park to raise funds, while also partnering with a variety of other organizations on a regular basis.

“Whenever you come to the park, there’s something fun and interesting for you to do and to learn about,” said Doyle. “This is a park for everybody. It’s a team approach for all of us to get together, save these parks and create these amazing experiences.”

The Sierra State Parks Foundation is a KOLO Cares Pillar Partner for 2021-22. To learn more, head to kolocares.com or sierrastateparks.org.

Copyright 2021 KOLO. All rights reserved.