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Lake Tahoe Wildlife and Plants | Northstar California Lake Tahoe Wildlife and Plants | Northstar California

Trees, Wildlife and Plants Indigenous to Tahoe


Trees Indigenous to Lake Tahoe

  • AspensQuaking Aspens and White Firs are a commonly found in moist locations in the mountains.
  • Evergreen Conifers (cone bearing trees) are found in the Sierra Nevada’s from 3,000 to 8,300 feet.
  • Alders are small trees that grow along rivers and streams.
  • Jeffrey Pine and Ponderosa Pine are common species of pine trees in the Tahoe Basin. To tell them apart, pick up a cone and hold it in your hand. Is it smooth or prickly? Say to yourself “Gentle Jeffrey, Prickly Ponderosa” to know the difference.
  • The Lodgepole Pine is another common species of pine tree, named for its tall straight trunks.  Used for teepee poles by Plains Indian tribes. It’s useful for telephone poles, fence posts, railroad ties and furniture. 

Wildlife Indigenous to Lake Tahoe

  • Woodpeckers can be found in the trees and eating wood-boring insects.
  • Species of bark beetles live inside the bark and feed off the sap within the trees.
  • Squirrels, chipmunks, and even raccoons are examples of wildlife found in Lake Tahoe.
  • Black bears are found all around the Lake Tahoe Basin.
  • Deer, bob cats, and mountain lions can all be found in the mountains. 

Plants Indigenous to Lake Tahoe

  • A Riparian Woodland is an area characterized by it's proximity to a stream that includes smaller trees and water-loving plants such as: Yellow Monkeyflowers, Orange Alpine Lilies, Yellow Arrow-leaved Butterweed,
  • Purple Tower Delphinium and Yellow Buttercups.
  • A strange red plant that pops up out of the ground is called a Snowplant.
  • Low growing Evergreen plants are called Squaw Carpet
  • Mountain shrubs in the area include Deer Brush and Tobacco Brush.
  • Mountain Mules’ Ears are large fuzzy leaves that look like donkey ears.
  • Sagebrush and Bitterbrush are shrubs that grow in dry soils.
  • Willows are common water loving shrubs that grow in meadows and along creeks.
  • Cow Parsnips are flat-topped clusters of blossoms that form one point like an umbrella. 


Late Seral Forests

Late seral forests contain wildlife habitats suitable for uncommon and unique wildlife communities including the Northern Goshawk, California Spotted Owl, Pileated Woodpecker and American Marten, as well as other ecological functions that are distinct from those of younger forests. Northstar® Resort contains approximately 92 acres of mature, late seral forests.   These trees, mostly located below Sawtooth Ridge, have canopies dominated by larger and taller trees, and have a more complex canopy structure than younger groups of trees. Access and use restrictions help to protect wildlife resources during critical nesting seasons.

Riparian Wildlife Areas

In the Sierra Nevada, riparian wildlife areas are among the most productive and species-rich areas.  Along with late seral forest habitat, riparian and aquatic habitats are among the most ecologically significant resources on Northstar Resort lands due to their instrumental role in soil conservation and water quality improvement for both surface
runoff and water flowing into streams through subsurface or groundwater flow. Riparian zones provide important wildlife habitat and water quality benefits including habitat for uncommon and unique wildlife communities such as Mule Deer, Willow Flycatcher, Mountain Yellow-Legged Frog and the Sierra Nevada Mountain Beaver.

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