Photo by Elizabeth Carmel

Photo by Elizabeth Carmel

The Land Trust has purchased 1,320 acres north of Truckee that includes a significant portion of Lower Carpenter Valley. This new acquisition follows a recent string of successful acquisitions that include Waddle Ranch Preserve, Perazzo Meadows, Donner Summit Canyon, Webber Lake and Royal Gorge, to name a few. This is one of our most important and most exciting acquisitions. The natural resources and condition of the property is nearly unheard of in the Northern Sierra.

Lower Carpenter Valley is one of the best examples of a properly functioning meadow in our area. Willow forests abound on the valley floor, and the North Fork of Prosser Creek does not suffer the common ailments seen in or local meadows - channelization and head cuts.  Instead  the creek meanders through the valley and vegetation grows right up to the water’s edge.  When the snow melts, Lower Carpenter Valley puts on a wildflower show that is unrivaled in our area. The Land trust has several restorations taking place on area meadows that will bring the meadows back to a state like Lower Carpenter Valley.

Working with The Nature Conservancy and Tahoe Donner Association, the Land Trust is developing plans for new trails, a trailhead, interpretive signage, a bridge across the North Fork of Prosser Creek, benches and picnic tables. Construction should begin in 2019, lasting into 2020.

The trails will include numerous elevated puncheon sections designed to allow visitors to enjoy the meadow without impacting water flow and meadow function, and without muddying their boots. The bridge across the North Fork of Prosser Creek will access a future picnic area and provide future connectivity with the network of trails on adjacent US Forest Service land. At the western end of the property, a proposed elevated platform would provide views of the Sierra Crest and lower valley.

Once all of this is in place, the property can be opened to the public for unguided access – likely in 2020. Until then, the Land Trust provides multiple docent-led hikes each week in the summer and fall for those interested in visiting.