The Washoe Indians called it Tah-ve, an unfathomable liquid sapphire set in a 500 square-mile watershed of alpine snow and ice. Too deep and vast to freeze, Lake Tahoe’s waters have, over time, reflected pristine forests, barren hillsides littered with slash and sawdust, managed restoration, and the glow of neon casino marquees. Its spectacular natural landscape, shared by both California and Nevada, is more designed than people realize. Humans transformed most of the old trees into mine shafts and cities. When the railroad, and later the automobile, domesticated the lake, putting it within recreational reach of the middle class, much of Lake Tahoe’s shore became a managed wilderness. Its location along a political border created a unique merger of naturalist and gaming economies.