History of Fallen Leaf Lake

The Early Days

Begining in 1898, the Price and Craven families operated two facilities at Fallen Leaf Lake: the Fallen Leaf Lodge and the Housekeeping Camp.

In 1951, the 20-acre Lodge portion of the property was purchased by the Stanford Alumni Association, and in 1959, the Stanford Sierra Camp was born. The adjacent 78-acre property continued to be operated as a camp and cabin destination by the Price-Craven families until 1980.

photo of old FLL brochure covers
photo of old FLL brochure text

A New Era Begins at Fallen Leaf Lake

In 1981, the Price-Craven families sold the remaining 80 acres because they could not afford the $300,000 assessment for a new sewer line that was mandated as part of the effort to clean up pollution of the Lake Tahoe basin. The property was purchased by a group of 25 families, some of whom were owners of other cabins at Fallen Leaf. They wanted to save the Lodge and the surrounding areas from big city developers who might well turn it into a big hotel or condos.

The property, with about 80 cabins, motel units, Lodge building, and camp sites, was in pretty run down condition. There was also a Marina, a little Store, and even a Post Office. It was a veritable community at the south end of Fallen Leaf that was accessed by a mostly single lane road that was closed in the winter.

Before the new group owners of the property could do anything, they had to go through a daunting permit process that ended up taking fifteen years, and involved a couple of law suits. The process included creation of a master plan for the property, reducing the intensity of development of the site from 80 units to 43, relocation of the road away from the lakeshore, undergrounding of the utility lines that were mostly tacked onto big trees, and removal of many dead trees that had been weakened by the drought of 1977-78 and subsequent invasions of insects that ultimately killed one third of all the trees in the Tahoe basin. A portion of the property, including the Marina and Old Store, was transferred to the Fallen Leaf Lake Community Services District (CSD). The CSD subsequently built a "New Store" and continues to operate the store, marina, and a public beach.

A new water source was also required by the Environmental Health Department because the spring that had served the lodge property was found to be contaminated with E. coli. After four years of chasing the wrong solution, four groundwater wells were drilled, and a plentiful source (60 gallons per minute) established. A large watertank, located high on the hill at the eastern corner of the property, provides water for residential, landscaping and fire-protection uses. Subsequently, the FLL Mutual Water Company was formed and now operates the water system.

The Fallen Leaf Lake Associates, a partnership that was initally formed to develop the property, disbanded in 2005. The Fallen Leaf Lodge Homeowners Association (FLLHA) was established and is responsible for maintaining the "common areas" of the property, including all of the land not covered by private homes, the parking lots, swim pier, paths, bridge, beach area, and the propane and gas lines. The FLLHA is governed by a board of five members who are elected to two year terms.

The story continues . . .

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