Stateline, Nevada – The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency Governing Board on Wednesday recognized the extraordinary, lifelong contributions of Coe Swobe. Swobe is considered the “father of TRPA” for his bipartisan work to create the agency and its mission to conserve and restore Lake Tahoe’s environment. Swobe died on May 26, 2016 at age 87.
As a Nevada State Senator, Swobe brokered the landmark 1969 agreement between then Nevada Gov. Paul Laxalt and then California Gov. Ronald Reagan and the two state legislatures to create TRPA and the nation’s first environmental bi-state compact.
“Coe became not only the person who made it happen, but the voice of people who wanted to see it happen,” said Governing Board Vice Chair James Lawrence, deputy director of the Nevada Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
Swobe later served on the TRPA Governing Board from 2001 to 2008. A third-generation Nevadan, Swobe prioritized and championed prescribed fire and hazardous fuels reduction projects to reduce wildfire risk. That work continues today and remains a top priority for the health and protection of Lake Tahoe’s forests and watershed and the safety of Lake Tahoe communities.
Lawrence praised Swobe’s humor, passion, and intelligence, his tireless work to protect Lake Tahoe, and his introduction and passage of legislation to create Sand Harbor State Park on the East Shore of Lake Tahoe.
“We all talk about Lake Tahoe as the jewel of the Sierra,” Lawrence said. “I think Sand Harbor is the jewel of Lake Tahoe. The work Coe did to acquire that land, create Sand Harbor, and set it aside for all Nevadans to enjoy is monumental, a tremendous accomplishment. Everyone feels such gratitude to Coe and he will be missed.”
Shelly Aldean, who represents Carson City, Nevada, on the TRPA Governing Board, said she had the privilege of working with Swobe. She recalled his passion and tireless work for Lake Tahoe, as well as his work with the late Jerry Waldie, a U.S. Representative in California who also served on the TRPA Governing Board.
“They were in opposing parties and there was a constant exchange of jabs, but they were very much aware of their duty to do what was best for Lake Tahoe and for the constituents that they represented. I think we can all take a lesson from that, given how divisive politics has become. Coe will be missed,” Aldean said.
Joanne S. Marchetta, executive director of TRPA, said Swobe is a role model for statesmanship, leadership, and passion at Lake Tahoe. “Coe is truly a monumental figure at Tahoe. His experiences and stories and convictions will continue to inspire and motivate all of our staff at TRPA for years to come, and bring home the importance of our work and our partnerships to conserve and restore this national treasure.”
The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency leads the cooperative effort to preserve, restore, and enhance the unique natural and human environment of the Lake Tahoe Region, while improving local communities, and people’s interactions with our irreplaceable environment. For additional information, contact Tom Lotshaw, Public Information Officer, at 775-589-5278.