Placer voting on $10M for Waddle Ranch |

Placer voting on $10M for Waddle Ranch

Emma Garrard/Sierra SunSara Taddo, Truckee Donner Land Trust land conservation director, walks around Dry Lake on the Waddle Ranch property in March. The nearly 1,500-acre property is being purchased by the Truckee Donner Land Trust and Trust for Public Land for $23.5 million.

Placer County will vote today on a proposal to spend $10 million toward the $23.5 million purchase of Waddle Ranch in Martis Valley.

An approval by the county’s Board of Supervisors would put the Truckee Donner Land Trust and the Trust for Public Land within $2.5 million of purchasing nearly 1,500 acres of what conservationists believe is one of the most ecologically diverse and biologically important Martis Valley parcels.

The 1,482 acres of land is owned by the Pritzker family, hotel magnates who own the majority of the Hyatt hotel chain. The land is zoned for nearly 1,000 homes.

Supervisor Bruce Kranz, who represents Tahoe and the eastern side of Placer County, said he worked for over a year and a half on the funding proposal.

“The longer you wait, the more the land is going to cost,” said Kranz, who said he would support the Waddle Ranch funding, barring any new information that crops up during the board meeting.

Kranz, a former superintendent with California State Parks, said the property should be open for public recreation. The property has potential for hiking, mountain biking, wildlife viewing and cross country skiing.

While the Placer County funding would put the land trusts within closing distance of their final goal of purchasing the land, the organizations still have to raise some private funds to seal the deal.

“This is far from a done deal,” said Executive Director Perry Norris of the Truckee Donner Land Trust.

The land trust is launching a campaign to raise the needed $2.5 million in additional private funds by the Oct. 31 deadline.

“The dust is starting to settle on the public funding and we see we have a shortfall of $2.5 million and we need to close that gap,” Norris said.

The other large tract of land on the north side of Highway 267 ” over 7,000 acres belonging to timber giant Sierra Pacific Industries ” is also on the Truckee Donner Land Trust’s wish list of properties to acquire.

The Truckee Tahoe Airport District contributed $2 million to the land trust last November ” adding to a $2 million state grant from the Sierra Nevada Cascade Conservation Grant program ” to assist with the purchase of the Waddle property.

The undeveloped parcel, located along Highway 267 on the eastern edge of Martis Valley, is of interest to the airport board because of its alignment to an existing runway, according to airport officials.

If purchased and made open to the public, Waddle Ranch, Sierra Pacific Industries land and a property near Glenshire known as the Raley property would link the Martis Creek National Recreation Area and Tahoe National Forest land up to the Mount Rose Wilderness, said Norris.

“[If completed] we will have hit, what you would call in my business, a conservation grand slam ” and that’s very rare,” said Norris.

For more on the Truckee Donner Land Trust’s campaign to raise private funds to purchase Waddle Ranch go to: or call 582-4711.

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