SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. – August 9, 2019, marks the 75th birthday of our beloved icon, Smokey Bear. The USDA Forest Service Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit, in coordination with our partners at Great Basin Institute and Heavenly Mountain Resort, will host two events in celebration of Smokey’s 75th birthday.

A birthday celebration will be held at 1 p.m. on Friday, August 9, at the Taylor Creek Visitor Center. The celebration includes a meet and greet with Smokey Bear, photo ops, birthday cake, coloring station, storytime, Smokey Bear scavenger hunt and fire education information. The visitor center is located on Highway 89 N, approximately three miles northwest of the City of South Lake Tahoe. This event is free and open to all ages.  

On Saturday, August 10, a meet and greet celebration with Smokey Bear will take place at Heavenly Mountain Resort Gondola beginning at 11 a.m. Smokey will be available for photo ops at the bottom of the gondola and then will board the gondola and ride up to the midstation. Smokey will arrive at the mid-station around noon for another photo op, before heading to the top of the gondola where he will be available for more photo ops beginning roughly at 1 p.m. The Heavenly Gondola is located at the Heavenly Village, 4080 Lake Tahoe Blvd. South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150. This event is open to all ages and does require a gondola ticket if proceeding to the midstation and top of the gondola.     

Since 1944, Smokey Bear has worked to protect America’s forests from unwanted, human-caused wildfires. Smokey is one of the most-loved ambassadors of our time and his signature phrase, “Only you can prevent wildfires,” is truly iconic. Smokey’s message of wildfire prevention is the center of the longest running PSA campaign in our nation’s history. Happy 75thbirthday Smokey Bear!


The mission of the U.S. Forest Service, part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is to sustain the health, diversity and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The agency manages 193 million acres of public land, provides assistance to state and private landowners, and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world. Public lands the Forest Service manages contribute more than $13 billion to the economy each year through visitor spending alone. Those same lands provide 20 percent of the nation’s clean water supply, a value estimated at $7.2 billion per year. The agency has either a direct or indirect role in stewardship of about 80 percent of the 850 million forested acres within the U.S., of which 100 million acres are urban forests where most Americans live.