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$15M will get 300 acres, and a river runs through it

In 1897, one acre of land outside of Truckee sold for about $2.

Fast-forward over a century later to Bickford Ranch, 300 acres of wooded property 10-miles up Highway 89 north with a price tag of $15 million.

Myrtle Findley’s grandfather, John Herbert, purchased the property 109 years ago and the land has been passed down within the family, she said. Currently the property has more than 40 owners, and Findley said there’s “just too many people” to manage the nearly undeveloped acreage just past Sagehen Experimental Forest.



The Little Truckee River flows through a portion of Bickford Ranch, sometimes referred to a The Little Truckee Ranch, she said.

“Everyone has died except my brother, sister, and I,” Findley said. “It’s a management problem. I don’t want to pass it down to my kids.”



The Truckee Donner Land Trust has had its eye on the property for a number of years, said Perry Norris, the trust’s executive director.

“It’s an important piece of property that needs to be conserved,” he said with a caveat. “Even if it’s Bill Gates, that’s a lot of money.”

Perry said the land trust can’t pay more than the fair market price for property, calling the $15 million amount “astronomical.” Partnering with a conservation buyer, who would buy the land outright, is the land trust’s other option. The Nature

Conservancy is also interested in obtaining the land, Norris said.

Findley said she visited the area of the property where the barn sits to post more

“For Sale” signs last Thursday. The land has been on the market since last summer but the real estate signs keep disappearing, she said.

Janet Jones, Findley’s Realtor at Fall River Real Estate, said she has received all kinds of calls about the property. Interested parties have included corporations as

well as individuals, she said.

“It’s a unique piece of property,” Jones said. “The river runs through it. It’s pristine.”

The $15 million is fair, she said, and “people haven’t balked at the pricing.” Jones said she estimated the selling price for the 300 acres will be between $12 million to 15 million.

Dealing with a large number of people has been difficult, Jones said. One family member remains resistant to the decision to sell, whom Jones guessed has been taking down the “For Sale” signs.

Findley said if the land is partitioned off into smaller parcels it will sell quickly, but some family members oppose that alternative.

Findley said she was born in Hobart Mills in 1919 and grew up living on a ranch on the land. She said she remembers when she was 18 years old helping her father milk cows out in the barn that still stands today, although it has a bit of a lean.

In the 1950s, Findley and her husband built a cabin on the property, and her uncle built another cabin located further away, she said. The three buildings, including the barn, are the only structures on the 300 acres. The cabin is livable and family members still stay there from time to time, Findley said.

“It’s a picture to behold,” she said.


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