Protecting the Heart of Martis Valley
A Rich Natural Landscape
At the heart of Martis Valley is 1,481-acre Waddle Ranch, a stunning property of meadows, lush green forests, and breathtaking mountain vistas that has remained nearly unchanged for hundreds of years. The property is located just north of Highway 267, the road connecting Truckee with Lake Tahoe, and has been privately owned and operated as a working ranch since the 1850s.
Waddle Ranch is the most ecologically diverse property in the entire Martis Valley, supporting thriving plant and animal communities around Dry Lake and throughout its creeks, wetlands, and old-growth pine forests. The ranch is also a critical link in the unbroken ten-mile long wildlife corridor between Martis Valley and the Mount Rose Wilderness, ensuring that hundreds of species of birds and animals can survive and flourish, safe from residential development and resort expansion.
In 2003, Martis Valley was slated for extensive development, including plans for more than 6,000 new condominiums and townhouses and five new golf courses. A coalition of civic and environmental organizations united to broker a more conservation-oriented outcome that would benefit local residents, as well as the thousands of visitors that flock to Martis Valley every year. The community’s vision for protection of this landscape called for protecting the entire area north of Highway 267, and allowing for a reduced amount of development on the south side of the highway, adjacent to existing developments.
The Truckee Donner Land Trust and the Trust for Public Land, with important support from the Northern Sierra Partnership, completed the acquisition of 1,462-acre Waddle Ranch in 2007. The $23.5 million acquisition was, without doubt, one of the largest and most complicated conservation efforts in the Sierra Nevada and an important milestone in protecting the Greater Truckee Landscape.
Our Vision for Protection
Since the purchase, the Land Trust has made over $2 million of investments to enhance the visitor experience and improve the ecological condition of the property. Those investments have included an expanded the trailhead at the main access point to the property, interpretative signage, a new three-mile trail loop, and a series of restoration and forestry management projects. Today, visitors can hike from Waddle Ranch to the Tahoe National Forest, Martis Creek Lake National Recreation Area, and Mount Rose Wilderness. In addition to providing important new recreation opportunities for local residents and visitors, the protection of Waddle Ranch has helped to maintain air and water quality in the Truckee area, lessen traffic, and secured important habitat and corridors for wildlife.
Directions from Truckee
- Waddle Ranch is accessed in Martis Valley via the US Army Corps of Engineers, Martis Lake Recreation Area.
- From State Route 267, turn north onto Martis Dam Road.
- Proceed to the trailhead at the junction of Glider Port Road and Martis Dam.
- From there, walk across the dam and follow the signs to Waddle Ranch Preserve.
NOTE: This trailhead can only be reached in an automobile between May and the first snowfall. A gate at the beginning of Martis Dam Road restricts vehicle access in the winter.