500 sugar pines to be planted on Earth Day in Martis Valley | SierraSun.com

500 sugar pines to be planted on Earth Day in Martis Valley

Special to the Sun
Students and volunteers gathered last year to plant sugar pines on Waddle Ranch for Earth Day.
Courtesy photo |

TRUCKEE, Calif. — Volunteers with the Truckee Tahoe Airport District and Sugar Pine Foundation, along with about 80 students from Sierra Expeditionary Learning School, will take to the Martis Valley with 500 sugar pine saplings on Earth Day this year.

The planting event on Friday, April 22, will be the fourth year the airport district has teamed up with local students and the foundation to plant sugar pines on Waddle Ranch, an open space preserve owned and managed by the district.

“Working with these students on Earth Day is a great example of our board and staff’s ongoing commitment to Waddle Ranch,” said Kevin Smith, general manager of the airport district. “The community came together to preserve this place, and this is a great way to keep them involved.”

Sugar pines were once widespread throughout the region before logging significantly reduced their population.

Reintroducing the trees to Waddle Ranch will help bring diversity into the forest, which can improve forest health, drought tolerance, and fire resistance, said Maria Mircheva, executive director of the Sugar Pine Foundation, whose organization will monitor the trees’ health once they’ve been planted.

The planting will also help with water quality and viewshed goals in line with those of the Truckee Donner Land Trust and Truckee River Watershed Council, who will also be working on Waddle Ranch this year.

John Svahn, stewardship director for the land trust, said the group will be collaborating with the Truckee Trails Foundation and Vail Resorts EpicPromise Foundation to maintain existing trails in Waddle Ranch, as well as establish a connection to the Elizabethtown trailhead across Highway 267 from the Northstar California entrance.

The Watershed Council will continue to work on Waddle Ranch, assessing places where old logging roads and other impairments have affected the watershed, with plans for on-the-ground restoration starting in 2017, said Beth Christman, director of restoration programs for the council.

“As for the airport, we will continue to work to reduce wildfire threat to nearby neighborhoods through mechanical thinning, mastication, and brush piling,” said Hardy Bullock, director of aviation and community services for the airport.

This article was provided on behalf of the Truckee Tahoe Airport District. To learn more about the airport and Waddle Ranch, go to truckeetahoeairport.com.