The Mountains Are Calling but I Must Not Go

Donner Lake at sunrise

Photo credit: Katey Hamill

We understand that you’re feeling a pull to the mountains. It’s hard to stay home, period. Add in the allure of beautiful, natural landscapes like ours in Truckee and you’ve got a recipe for restlessness. But right now mountain communities across the country and the world are urging visitors to stay away. You might be wondering, why?

Why are rural communities like Truckee so vulnerable to COVID-19?

Simply put, our town doesn’t have the resources or infrastructure to respond to a widespread outbreak of coronavirus. Truckee is a small mountain town and on busy weekends our population doubles, even triples, as our beloved visitors pour in to take advantage of the endless skiing, hiking, and other outdoor opportunities. But we only have one rural health care facility, the Tahoe Forest Hospital, which serves six counties, two states, and approximately 3,500 square miles.

As we brace for the spread of COVID-19 here in Truckee, we are thinking about the capacity of our single small hospital and how quickly it can be overrun. If that were to happen, patients would need to be transferred to higher care at another hospital like Reno, for example.

When you stay home at your primary residence, you are helping to slow the spread of COVID-19 in Truckee. You are keeping beds available for future patients that will need them. You are saving lives. That is how powerful your act of staying home is.

What can I do in the meantime?

1. Support Truckee’s small businesses (from afar) who are offering gift cards, online shopping and virtual classes.

2. Make a donation to Truckee COVID-19 emergency relief funds.

3. Stay connected to our authentic mountain culture from afar:

We know the mountains are calling but for right now, you must not go. We can’t wait until that changes, and once it does, we’ll be ready to welcome you back with open arms.

Siobhan Kenney

About Siobhan Kenney

Siobhan traveled the American West as a National Park Ranger before setting down roots in Truckee. Outdoor adventure is her bread and butter and most days you can find her skiing, trail running, or backpacking.  Follow along with her adventures on Instagram @siokenney.