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July Fourth Crowds Flock to Lake Tahoe

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SOUTH LAKE TAHOE -- It is estimated that 250,000 people will be in the Lake Tahoe area for the Fourth of July, but they will have far less beach to enjoy.

The wet winter's rain and snow has increased the water levels at the lake by about 6 feet, more than levels were just a year ago.

"That puts us around 10% of the normal beach area we traditionally have," said Jesse Patterson with the League to Save Lake Tahoe.

Those wanting to enjoy the sun at Pope Beach had to wait an hour just for a parking spot. Even getting to the beach was tough, with bumper to bumper traffic along Highway 89 on the south side of the lake.

"It's really crowded, and there's a lot of traffic," said Christina Harris from Sacramento.

The massive surge of people also brings a lot of trash.

Last year there was 1,600 pounds of trash left behind after the holiday. That did not include the more than 7,000 cigarette butts.

"We try to keep the lake and surrounding areas as pristine as possible, so we really need the public's help," Patterson said. "Pick up your trash, pick up other people's trash, just do what you can."