Earth Day Waddle Ranch Sugar Pine Planting

Apr 15, 2016

Truckee Tahoe Airport, the Sugar Pine Foundation and local SELS students team up to plant Sugar Pines at Waddle Ranch on Earth Day

Sierra Sun Article TRUCKEE, Calif. – The Truckee Tahoe Airport District, the Sugar Pine Foundation, and about 80 students from the Sierra Expeditionary Learning School will take to Waddle Ranch 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 Sugar Pine 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 sugar pines 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 they’ll 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 Watershed 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 Truckee Tahoe Airport.

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