Local trail project gets a shot in the arm | SierraSun.com

Local trail project gets a shot in the arm

The Truckee River Watershed Council recently received some money that will help a trail in the Martis Valley be a little less muddy.

With a $12,000 grant from the Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation’s Nature Fund, the watershed council will be able to build a 275-foot boardwalk over the Tompkins Memorial Trail in the Martis Wildlife Area.

“The grant will pay for the majority of the boardwalk,” said Beth Christman, Truckee River Watershed Council project manager. “Most of the work will be done on Truckee River Day … This is going to be one of our major projects this year.”

The 10th annual Truckee River Day, which is organized by the watershed council, is scheduled for Oct. 16. It’s an event in which volunteers help restore wetland habitats in the Truckee River watershed through picking up trash, planting new vegetation, trail building or restoring fish habitat.

Truckee River Day ” and the volunteer effort behind it ” was the biggest reason the Nature Fund awarded the grant to the Truckee River Watershed Council, said Lisa Dobey, CEO of the Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation.

“We were looking for projects where people and nature intersect ” tangible projects,” Dobey said. “We’re looking for the ones that engage people the most. That reinforces the importance of taking care of our beautiful mountain environment.”

The $12,000 grant is much larger than a typical community foundation grant, which is normally about $5,000. And next year, the community foundation board is hoping to give away roughly $25,000 from the Nature Fund, which currently has a pot of $1.5 million in pledges and donations, Dobey said.

“We felt like for this to have the punch we wanted it to have, we had to hand out the larger dollar amount,” she said.

The Nature Fund came about after the Truckee Tahoe Community Foundation completed a survey on different community needs. The results indicated that Truckee and North Lake Tahoe residents want the environment and natural beauty of the region to be protected.

Not long after its establishment in 2003, foundation board member Dr. Fred Ilfeld and his wife, Barbara Ilfeld, posted a $500,000 challenge grant to the Nature Fund. The grant matched donations to the Nature Fund, dollar for dollar. Then, developer East West Partners followed, donating $500,000 of their own.

With proposals for the Nature Fund’s first grant cycle due in two months ago, the money couldn’t have come at a better time for the Truckee River Watershed Council, especially with Truckee River Day around the corner, Christman said.

“This was really fortunate that the Nature Fund grant was so timely,” she said. “Really, having a local funder like the community foundation ” that really knows what’s going on on the ground here ” that was great.”

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