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Tahoe's shores have attracted visitors for thousands of years. The first people to enjoy the Lake Tahoe Basin were the Native American culture group known as Washoe . The discovery of stone artifacts and projectile points confirms the Washoes presence 10,000 years ago.
The first non-Native American to gaze upon this spectacular region was Captain John C. Fremont in 1844, guided by well-known scout Kit Carson. For many years thereafter, the area was virtually ignored. In 1859 the Comstock Lode was discovered in Virginia City, Nevada. During the 1860s Tahoe became the center of a lively commerce involving the silver mines in Virginia City and the Central Pacific Railroad. Unfortunately, the Washoe homeland nearly perished during this silver and logging boom. The natural resources of the region are in fact still recovering from the mass deforestation that occurred during this period of time. By the early 1900s wealthy Californians were building lakeside estates there, some of which still stand. In the 1920s and 1930s the less affluent came, due to improved roads. Modest bungalows began to appear. The first casinos opened in the 1940s. Ski resorts began mushrooming in the 1950s and 1960s, turning the lake into a year-round destination.
During some summer weekends it seems that absolutely every tourist - up to 100,000 during peak seasons - is in the main road that circles the 72-mile shoreline. The crowd increases as the day wears on. Nevertheless, at a vantage point overlooking Emerald Bay during sunrise, on a trail in the national forests that ring the basin, or on a cruise on the lake itself at dusk, you can forget the flocks of people and the commerciality and just relish the splendor and beauty of the area.
Emerald Bay at sunrise

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