INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. (AP & MyNews4.com) -- Lake Tahoe is back in the spotlight as hundreds gather on its eastern short for an annual environmental summit.
Former Vice President Al Gore gave the keynote address Monday at the 17th annual Tahoe Summit, held this year at Sand Harbor State Park.
"I'll never forget the first time I saw Lake Tahoe," commented Gore during his speech. "It was almost like, are you kidding me? This is unbelievable."
Gore and then President Bill Clinton attended the first forum held in 1997 that drew international attention to the lake straddling the Nevada-California line and identified the many environmental challenges that threaten its famed clear waters.
"I think the most important accomplishment was that there was a shift from what many began to feel as a sense of despair, it shifted to a sense of hope," remarked Gore on that first summit.
Since then nearly $1.7 billion in public and private money has been spent on various projects to control runoff, combat invasive species and reduce air pollution. All those factors contribute to the clouding of Lake Tahoe's clarity.
"It is the fairest place that nature has to offer," said Gore. "So protecting it is important, for the economy and the economic future of this entire area."
Other political dignataries in attendance Monday included Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Senator Dianne Feinsten, Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval and California Governor Jerry Brown.
It's estimated that over 1,000 people attended the summit on Monday.