MAPF is alive, well and worthy of support |

MAPF is alive, well and worthy of support

Every once in a while the Mountain Area Preservation Foundation makes the news.

I believe the last time was a few months ago when it was announced that MAPF, along with other conservation organizations, reached an agreement with the developers of Martis Valley. The results of this agreement were scaling back on the amount of development and an increase in open space. This was heralded as quite a victory for preservation of our open space in an era of rampant development.

On a quieter and lower scale note, MAPF became proactive in the Caltrans proposal to build a salt barn at the Donner Lake interchange half way up Donner Summit on Interstate 80. As a result Caltrans set these plans aside.

MAPF came into existence in 1987 as a grassroots organization of Truckee locals and others. What triggered this was a proposal by Kmart to build a superstore at the I-80/Highway 89 north interchange adjacent to the cemetery. With huge local support MAPF waged an extended legal battle and eventually won.

Back in 1987 I joined the battle to stop Kmart and became part of MAPF. It was a heady time. Our passions were ignited at this attempted onslaught on our little mountain town and surrounding area. And we ended up beating the big guys.

As is obvious, over the past almost 20 years we have moved from a little mountain town to a burgeoning rich man’s playground, with countless gated communities each with their private golf courses. MAPF continues its subtle, and sometimes not-so-subtle, presence to maintain as much of a balance as possible between development pressures and maintaining open space. MAPF has also become an ardent supporter of “affordable” housing.

After those heady times of the Kmart battles many of us, including myself, went back to our lives as usual and pretty much forgot about MAPF. Meanwhile, MAPF continued on with a strong core group of members quietly taking on issues that required advocacy. Even though I had interaction with some of the core group I had come to believe that MAPF had pretty much faded away. It wasn’t till the Martis Valley battle and subsequent conversations that I had a reality check.

MAPF is very much alive and well and is probably the most ardent supporter and fighter for the preservation of what most of us are here for ” the woods, the lakes, the mountains and a way of life that allows us to savor these gifts of Mother Nature.

Since it is not a public agency it is not limited to the boundaries that those kinds of agencies are limited to. Thus, it can take on causes across borders and across agencies and private corporations.

Immediately after my reality check I sat down and wrote a check to MAPF to join and contribute. Since the battles for balance are by and large fought in the legal system these days, the costs are exorbitant. Of note is that most recently MAPF contracted with a high-caliber person to review and comment on the Town of Truckee General Plan being finalized. This person prepared an extremely thorough, multi-page document of statements and recommendations. Since the General Plan is what will guide Truckee through the next 25 years its importance is monumental.

The thorough and costly analysis prepared by the contracted person will be invaluable in the finalization of the General Plan. What I am saying here is that the current reality is that the preservation of our mountain area is an ongoing process requiring much diligence and the wherewithal ” meaning money and dedication by people ” to mount the battles required.

I have resided in the area for the past 32 years and I am committed to maintaining as much as possible what I came here for. In my estimation MAPF shares that commitment and thus gets my support. I will continue to funnel donations that way and to provide support in other ways as needed.

In my support of MAPF I am also supporting other organizations such as the Truckee Donner Land Trust, which receives monies that have resulted from MAPF’s negotiations with developers.

I write this guest column to pass on the reality check I received. I passionately want others to wake up, as I did, and realize the immense service this organization provides for the community we love. Their mailing address is PO Box 971, Truckee, 96160

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