Buck program: over $50,000 donated | SierraSun.com

Buck program: over $50,000 donated

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These days one dollar can’t buy much.

But that hasn’t been the case for the Buck for Open Space and Trails program, which has raised more than $50,000 since the program started in October 2004 to benefit the Truckee Trails Foundation and the Truckee Donner Land Trust.

“We’re really excited and happy about it,” said Kellie Wright, Truckee Donner Land Trust development director. “We definitely didn’t think it would be that much.”

Leigh Fitzpatrick, Truckee Trails Foundation executive director, said the buck program is essential for the foundation’s work.

“The more time we have to hit people up for money, the less time we have to work on trails,” Fitzpatrick said.

The program relies on support from local businesses to raise funds for the nonprofit organizations. Participating businesses add one, non-taxed dollar to their customer’s bill. Customers then have the choice of removing the charge, adding the dollar amount, or adding additional money to the bill.

The Buck for Open Space and Trails program was inspired by similar successful programs in Jackson Hole, Wyo., and in Crested Butte, Colo.

The organizations split the program’s earnings 50/50 to benefit their preservation ambitions.

The program helps land trust’s endeavors to protect open space in the Truckee area and the trails foundation’s goal to provide Truckee with a network of trails and bike paths.

Wright said the land trust’s share of the money will go toward the general operating costs of the land trust.

“We need all those funds to keep everything going,” Wright said.

She said specific projects like the Truckee River Corridor couldn’t have been completed without the support from the buck program.

Fitzpatrick said the trails foundation has used the funds to pave a connecting trail from China Cove at Donner Lake to South Shore Drive. He said the foundation has future plans to provide a linking trail from the west end of Donner Lake to the Pacific Crest Trail.

The buck program started with two participating businesses and has grown to 11 in 2006. Participants in the buck program have a sticker in their business window to identify their involvement.

The downtown restaurant, Dragonfly, has been a participant in the buck program from the start. Billy McCullough, restaurant owner, said the program has gotten a positive response from customers.

“Overall we get more support,” McCullough said. “We’ve made it so if someone doesn’t want to (participate) they can do it in a discreet way.”

McCullough said more often than not customers are willing to donate more than one dollar after the program has been explained to them by restaurant staff. He said people give $10 on a regular basis with donations as much as $200.

Actress Kelly LeBrock was dining at Pianeta Ristorante when a waiter there told her about the buck program, Fitzpatrick said. He said she donated $200 to the cause.

Mike Blide, Cottonwood owner and Truckee Trails Foundation board vice president, said he gets complaints from customers on occasion.

“As soon as I give them my two-minute schpeel it kind of shuts them right up,” Blide said.

– Cabona’s Clothing

– Cottonwood

– Donner-Truckee Veterinary Hospital

– Dragonfly

– Inn at Truckee

– Jackass Ridge

– Pacific Crest Restaurant

– Pianeta Ristorante

– The Village Bistro

– West End Bistro

– Best Western Truckee Tahoe Inn

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