Agreement Would Protect 1,481 Acres in Martis Valley (CA)

TRUCKEE, CA, 3/15/2007: The Trust for Public Land (TPL) and Truckee Donner Land Trust (Land Trust) announced today that they have signed an agreement to purchase the 1,481-acre Waddle Ranch, located north of Highway 267 in Martis Valley. A working cattle ranch until the 1960’s, Waddle Ranch’s fate will be decided over the next eight months as TPL and the Land Trust work together to raise the funds necessary to purchase and permanently protect the property.

“This opportunity is the culmination of six years of work by a coalition of public and private partners, including landowners, developers, government agencies, nonprofits, and citizen groups,” said Reed Holderman, executive director of The Trust for Public Land-California. “If successful, this effort could set a precedent for cooperation between non-traditional partners who share a common interest in preserving quality of life in the Sierra.”

With the approval of the Martis Valley Community Plan in 2004 by the Placer County Board of Supervisors, Martis Valley was given entitlements for extensive development, including plans for more than 6,000 new condominiums and townhouses and five new golf courses.

A consortium of environmental and civic organizations, led by Sierra Watch and the Mountain Area Preservation Foundation, opposed the plan and along with the developers of Northstar, Martis Camp, and Timilick Tahoe, worked to broker a more conservation-oriented deal that would benefit residents of the valley along with the thousands of annual visitors. This landmark agreement will protect the north side of Highway 267 while allowing development on the south side, adjacent to existing developments and nearby Northstar.

“Waddle Ranch is the cornerstone property on the north side of Highway 267,” said Martin Bern, a San Francisco attorney and President of the Truckee Donner Land Trust. “Its protection is critical to the future of Martis Valley. In addition to its size and location, the ranch is the valley’s most biologically diverse property. We can not afford to lose its scenic, ecological, and cultural resources.”

If protected, Waddle Ranch will provide miles of new cross-country skiing, hiking and biking trails, enabling the public to access the Tahoe National Forest, Martis Creek Lake National Recreation Area, and Mount Rose Wilderness Area. Its protection will also contribute to the creation of a 10-mile open space corridor for wildlife movement and recreation.

The total purchase price is $23.5 million, which the Trust for Public Land and Truckee Donner Land Trust are assembling from a variety of public and private partners. They have already secured funding from the Truckee Tahoe Airport District, the State of California’s Sierra Nevada Cascade Grant Program and many individual donors. Thanks to flexibility provided by the current landowners, TPL and the Land Trust have until October 31st to raise the remainder of the purchase price, and are conducting a $2.5 million private capital campaign to help close the gap.

The Morgan Family Foundation has provided a key leadership gift of $500,000 to help kick-off the fundraising campaign. “The future of Martis Valley hangs in the balance and without private support, this deal would simply not be possible,” said Becky Morgan, a former State Senator and President of the Morgan Family Foundation. “If we miss this opportunity, we lose our best chance to preserve the open space and quality of the glorious Martis Valley.”

“I look forward to the day when the gate to Waddle Ranch will swing open, unlocking a magnificent landscape to the public,” said Truckee Mayor Richard Anderson. “If we are successful, future generations will pass through Martis Valley and never suspect its meadows and forest were once threatened with development.”

The Trust for Public Land is a national nonprofit land conservation organization dedicated to conserving land for people. TPL has protected more land in the Sierra Nevada than any other nonprofit organization; to date, TPL has protected more than 60,000 acres, with a fair market value in excess of $62 million. Nationwide, TPL has protected more than 2 million acres.

The Truckee Donner Land Trust is a nonprofit organization that works to preserve and protect important historic, recreational and scenic open spaces in the greater Truckee region. The Land Trust was founded in 1990 when the picturesque and historical Coldstream Valley next to Donner Lake was about to be lost to logging. A small group of passionate hikers joined together, raised $150,000, and purchased 160 acres in the Valley. Since then, the Land Trust has protected over 11,000 acres. For more information, please visit