A natural sanctuary less than two miles north of Truckee is about to re-open to the public for the first time in a century. Lower Carpenter Valley is now permanently protected for future generations after a two-year, $10.3 million campaign led by the Truckee Donner Land Trust and The Nature Conservancy, working together as part of the Northern Sierra Partnership.

The valley was first identified as a priority for conservation in 1999, in The Nature Conservancy’s Sierra Nevada Ecoregional Assessment. The valley is home to wet meadows and willow trees that serve as habitat for the threatened willow flycatcher, and nesting grounds for northern goshawks and bald eagles.


Conservation of the 1,317-acre area in and adjacent to Lower Carpenter Valley is part of the Northern Sierra Partnership campaign to protect and connect the large landscapes of the northern Sierra for people and wildlife. The five groups that make up the Partnership — the Truckee Donner Land Trust, The Nature Conservancy, The Trust for Public Land, the Feather River Land Trust, and the Sierra Business Council — worked with private landowners and public agencies to conserve nearly 70,000 acres across the Northern Sierra Nevada.

“It is important to remember that the wild landscapes of the northern Sierra are critical to our future. They sustain California and Northern Nevada with over half of the fresh water we use annually, support a remarkable diversity of wildlife, and are a public gateway to the recreational and scenic delights of the Sierra Nevada,” said Lucy Blake, president of the Partnership.

The North Fork of Prosser Creek, which meanders through Carpenter Valley, is an important tributary of the Truckee River, the primary source of drinking water for the rapidly growing population of Northern Nevada. California wildlife officials have identified the North Fork of Prosser Creek as a potential recovery site for native Lahontan cutthroat trout. These threatened, federally protected fish have been documented in the creek as recently as the late eighties and may still be present.

The conservation effort took place in three phases, the latest of which secured 600 acres in the Lower Carpenter Valley that were previously off-limits to the public. Initially, the valley will open only for guided tours. The Truckee Donner Land Trust intends to build a parking area, trails and interpretive signs before making the area accessible to the public.

To schedule a guided hike, visit


Previous articleThe Road to Glastonbury
Next articleSierra Nevada College Terminates Six Faculty Members