The Heart LandAnn McBride, July 16, 2015 in New Northstar, Tahoe/Truckee Community
Martis Valley is comprised of 45,000 acres of verdant meadows and pristine creeks under blue and cloudless skies. The physical beauty of it makes Martis Valley a special place to live. But there is more to our mountain home than sheer beauty. It is the heart of the people who live, play and work here that make it truly exceptional. Martis Valley, which for this purpose includes Truckee, Northstar, the North Shore of Lake Tahoe, Donner Lake, Tahoe Donner and all of the many communities which are contained within the boundary of the valley, has quite a story to tell – one of caring and generous people.
In 1998, William Hewlett, of Hewlett Packard Corporation donated one million dollars to fund the creation of the Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation. A short time later, Hewlett made another contribution of $1 million to TTCF as a challenge grant. The community responded and funds came from residents, businesses and other organizations. Sixteen years later, the TTCF has donated $20 million in grant money to various nonprofit organizations and has an additional $20 million in endowed assets. The foundation is both a financial institution and a charitable organization. Contributions in the form of grants fund arts and humanities (21%) , environmental projects, recreation and animal welfare (19%), education and youth development (32%), and health and human services (28%).
Under the umbrella of the Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation are several additional funds one of which is the Queen of Hearts Fund. In 2006, 1000 women came together to contribute $1,000 each to meet a goal of raising $1,000,000 in one year’s time. The goal was achieved and now the fund has 1200 members. The Queen fund has given $324,000 to various nonprofit organizations.
The community continues to improve every aspect of life in Martis Valley! In 1996, an event called Truckee River Day brought volunteers together to tackle various water quality and stream restoration projects. From the first Truckee River Days, the community formed the Truckee River Watershed Council. A model for other communities, the TRWC works with the Truckee Donner Land Trust in working to sustain a healthy Truckee River watershed – to the benefit of local residents and those living downstream.
The Truckee Donner Land Trust is another jewel in the Martis Valley crown! Founded in 1990, the TDLT now is a steward of 33,000 acres acquired through negotiated land purchases, easements and land exchanges. The TDLT is a nonprofit organization working to keep Martis Valley, its fauna and flora, protected and healthy. And also to make these lands accessible to everyone in the form of trails, trails, trails. Toward that end, the land trust is making progress on the completion of the Donner Lake Rim Trail – 23 miles of scenic trails and vistas. The land trust is funded by various sources including $7.8 million in private real estate transfer fees. The fund is also supported by Patagonia and REI.
The Truckee area appears to be somewhat unique in the formation of funds based on private transfer fees tied to real estate development. These are voluntary agreements between developers and organizations. Funds generated by the fee attached to the transfer of real estate ownership are then distributed to various nonprofits in the Truckee community. The oldest of these is the Tahoe Mountain Resorts Fund. The fund comes from private transfer fees on resort properties at Northstar, Gray’s Crossing and Old Greenwood. The fund has contributed approximately 7 million to various charitable organizations and approximately $341,000 to local scholarship programs. In 2002 the Lahontan Community Fund was established by members, homeowners and employees of Lahontan. This fund has contributed approximately 1.4 million toward various local organizations. The Martis Fund was established in 2007 and funds come from the fee attached to real estate ownership transfers in Martis Camp. The Martis Fund has contributed 3.5 million dollars towards the purchase of 1,481 acres now known as Waddle Ranch and funded other conservation projects.
Nearly every aspect of our Martis Valley based community has been supported by volunteers and businesses working to sustain the health of the area. The education organizations include Arts for the Schools, Boys and Girls Club of North Lake Tahoe, Aim High for High School and Excellence in Education. Recreation related groups are as diverse as the Truckee Trails Foundation, Tahoe Nordic Search and Rescue, Girls on the Run, Adventure Risk Challenge and others. The Bear League and Trout Unlimited are well known preservation groups. Health and human service organizations such as Project Mana, Sierra Senior Services and the Humane Society are but one of many examples of those working to enhance life in our area.
One thing is for sure, this community is dedicated to improving the lives and conditions of all who live here. Martis Valley is truly the heart land.