NEVADA CITY, CALIF. (Jan. 4, 2024) — Tahoe National Forest has acquired 982-acres within Perazzo Meadows located northwest of Truckee, Calif. after Truckee Donner Land Trust donates the land to the forest. The 982-acres includes 16 adjoining parcels of an old subdivision in which developers had previously planned high-end residential development. The land trust purchased the parcels in 2008, permanently protecting the land from development.

Perazzo Meadows property. (USDA Forest Service photo)
Perazzo Meadows property. (USDA Forest Service photo)

The acquisition was made possible thanks to Truckee Donner Land Trust along with its partners Trust for Public Land and Northern Sierra Partnership, and funders including the California Wildlife Conservation Board, California Natural Resources Agency and Caltrans Environmental Enhancement and Mitigation Program.

The land is located in the heart of the Sierra Nevada Checkerboard, which is a land ownership pattern from the transcontinental railroad era land grants. The Tahoe National Forest has been working with partners to conserve lands within the checkerboard for the purpose of improving public access, promoting landscape-level ecosystem management and improving overall land management. In preparation for the transfer of these lands to the Forest Service, substantial ecological restoration work in the meadow along the Little Truckee River was completed by Truckee River Watershed Council and the land trust

“Tahoe National Forest has been working with the land trust for the past 15 years to protect the vital Perazzo Meadows watershed and ecosystem,” said Tahoe National Forest Sierraville District Ranger Rachel Hutchinson. “We are thrilled at the success of our dedicated partners to further protect these meadow ecosystems for the benefit of habitat, water supply and public recreation opportunities.”

View of Perazzo Meadows property and the Little Truckee River that flows through. (USDA Forest Service photo)
View of Perazzo Meadows property and the Little Truckee River that flows through. (USDA Forest Service photo)

The acquired land includes the last remaining sizeable private property in the Perazzo Meadows system which includes critical habitat for the endangered Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frog and hosts one of California’s largest source populations of willow flycatchers. The meadows are incredibly scenic and boast top-tier public recreation opportunities. The meadows are also an essential part of the Truckee River watershed, a significant source of drinking and agricultural water for the Truckee and Sierra Valley, Calif. and Reno-Sparks, Nev. areas.

“Perazzo Meadows is a top priority landscape for conservation for the Land Trust and has been since the organization's inception, and this marks the next step in protecting, caring for, and allowing the public to enjoy this special property,” said Truckee Donner Land Trust Executive Director John Svahn. “We greatly appreciate our long-standing partnership with the U.S. Forest Service and the Truckee River Watershed Council, and look forward to our continued collaboration on protecting open space throughout our region.”

This acquisition protects the connectivity of habitat in this area, keeping the Perazzo Meadows system intact, inclusive of National Forest System lands that the Forest Service and its partners have been restoring through meadow restoration and forest management activities over the last several decades. Meadow ecosystems are a critical component to a healthy forest, supporting habitat for aquatic and terrestrial wildlife and pollinators. Meadow systems that are in good condition also naturally store and purify water and sequester carbon in their deep mineral soils. Meadows can act as a natural fire break due to their wet conditions and can also serve as refuge to wildlife and fire personnel during a wildfire.

With the newly acquired land, the Tahoe National Forest plans to provide public access to existing trails, manage fish and wildlife habitat in ways that promotes the recovery of threatened and endangered species, protect and restore the watershed and resources and promote the ecological integrity of native forests.