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Walter E. MacKenzie Papers

Identifier: NC1060
The Walter E. MacKenzie Papers contains information and material reflecting MacKenzie's participation as a member of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA) from 1970-1974. The material in the collection dates from 1958-1980 and includes records of TRPA as well as its predecessor organizations.

The records include agendas, correspondence, minutes, reports and studies, ordinances, plans, personal notes, printed material concerning Lake Tahoe and subjects pertinent to Lake Tahoe, and newspaper clippings. Both the quantity and quality of these records make it possible to trace the history of coordinated planning/conservation efforts on behalf of the Lake Tahoe Basin, both informal and official in nature. Topics such as utility supplies, housing, subdivisions, casinos, recreation, sewage disposal, transportation, and water and air quality are extensively represented in subject files and official records such as minutes and ordinances. Other issues affecting the quality of life in the region are also well documented, as are economic resources such as the logging and tourist industries.

The collection includes a number of useful maps with information difficult to obtain from other sources. Examples include maps showing land capabilities, shore zones, land use planning, sub-regional traffic plans, watersheds, population capacities, and more.

Two other series provide an interesting contrast for the perplexing problems faced by planners: Recreation and Sewage (Group 2, Series 16 and 17 respectively). The recreation series provides much information on plans and policies for increasing the recreational use of the Tahoe Basin, while the sewage series attempts to deal with the practical problems resulting from that increased population of users. Other series such as those on public utilities and transportation offer still more information about the problems faced by planners in the Lake Tahoe.


  • 1958-1980



Collection is open for research. Materials must be used on-site; advance notice suggested. Access to parts of this collection may be restricted under provisions of state or federal law.


20.5 Cubic Feet (21 boxes)


Records of the TRPA and related agencies and advisory bodies, including minutes, agendas, correspondence, reports, studies, ordinances, subject files, and printed material concerning Lake Tahoe.

Administrative History

Created in 1969, the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA) is the legal governing body for the Lake Tahoe Basin in California and Nevada. Its origins date from the mid-1950s, when the Tahoe region began to experience rapid growth due to the establishment of year round casinos and the growth of the region's skiing industry. Local residents realized that there was a need for a regional plan; one of their first efforts toward that goal was the Tahoe Improvement and Conservation Association (TICA), established in 1956 by west shore homeowners. From TICA came the Lake Tahoe Area Council in 1958, which was instrumental instigating basin-wide air and water pollution studies, stronger coordination between government entities, and concerns for special planning features. Walter E. MacKenzie was a charter member from Nevada from 1970-1974.

Other similar and sometimes overlapping groups included the Nevada-California Lake Tahoe Association, initiated in 1957 by the Max C. Fleischmann Foundation, and the Lake Tahoe Area Council in 1958, sponsored by the Nevada-California Lake Tahoe Association. The latter instituted many studies on lake boating uses, public parks, a hotel-motel economy survey, and the phenomenal growth of the lake area and produced a Tahoe area base map. All of these groups were unofficial with no governing authority.

The first official planning group originated in early 1958 when the Bi-County Planning Commission of California and the Tri-County Planning Commission of Nevada were formed. Their primary purpose was to seek solutions to common planning problems of the region; each county selected a delegate who in turn coordinated specific planning problems of the individual county with the regional aspects. Almost immediately, the Bi-Tri Commissions recommended formation of a new agency, the Tahoe Regional Planning Commission (TRPC) and its working arm, the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency.

Membership in the TRPC is composed of two appointees from each of the three Nevada counties and three from each of the two California counties. One of each counties' representatives is a county commissioner or supervisor whose district is located in the lake basin; the other appointee is a member of the planning commission of their respective county and also a resident of the Tahoe Basin. The Commission is assisted by the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC), composed of the professional planning directors of each county and the City of South Lake Tahoe.

Since its inception, the TRPC has dealt with a variety of problems: parkways, roads, sewage, water, zoning rules and procedures, fills, breakwaters, subdivisions, and gaming. In its early years the TRPC sponsored extensive studies and analysis on critical subjects such as a population projection for the area.

At a joint session of the TRPC and the Lake Tahoe Area Council in December 1964, the two bodies adopted a suggestion to form a Joint Study Committee regarding the feasibility of some form of regional approach to meet the basin-wide needs of Lake Tahoe. Their final recommendations were adopted by the California legislature in 1967 and by Nevada in 1968. This compact authorizes the Nevada Tahoe Regional Planning Agency and the California Tahoe Regional Planning Agency to make all planning decisions for the Tahoe Basin.


Group 1: Administration

  1. Group 1, Series 1: Advisory Planning Commission
  2. Group 1, Series 2: Agendas
  3. Group 1, Series 3: Budget and Finance
  4. Group 1, Series 4: Correspondence
  5. Group 1, Series 5: Goals and Policies
  6. Group 1, Series 6: Legal
  7. Group 1, Series 7: Legislation
  8. Group 1, Series 8: Minutes and Related Materials
  9. Group 1, Series 9: Memorandums
  10. Group 1, Series 10: Minutes, Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA)
  11. Group 1, Series 11: Ordinances
  12. Group 1, Series 12: Personnel
  13. Group 1, Series 13: Tahoe Area Planning Commissions

Group 2: Reports, Publications, Subject Files

  1. Group 2, Series 1: Plans/Programs
  2. Group 2, Series 2: Public Hearings
  3. Group 2, Series 3: Publications
  4. Group 2, Series 4: Regulations
  5. Group 2, Series 5: Reports
  6. Group 2, Series 6: History
  7. Group 2, Series 7: Citizen's Committee
  8. Group 2, Series 8: Electrical Supply
  9. Group 2, Series 9: Environment
  10. Group 2, Series 10: Housing, Subdivisions, Incline Village
  11. Group 2, Series 11: Casinos
  12. Group 2, Series 12: Lake Tahoe Area Council
  13. Group 2, Series 13: League to Save Lake Tahoe
  14. Group 2, Series 14: Maps
  15. Group 2, Series 15: News Clippings and Printed Materials
  16. Group 2, Series 16: Recreation
  17. Group 2, Series 17: Sewage
  18. Group 2, Series 18: Tahoe Public Utility District
  19. Group 2, Series 19: Transportation
  20. Group 2, Series 20: Water
  21. Group 2, Series 21: Miscellaneous


A Guide to the Papers of Walter E. MacKenzie
Susan Searcy
December 1987
Description rules

Repository Details

Part of the University of Nevada, Reno. Special Collections Department Repository

Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center
1664 N. Virginia St.
Reno Nevada 89557-0322 USA
775-682-5724 (Fax)