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MAP Conserves Truckee’s Landscape for 27 Years

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Community development, much like politics, can be a sensitive topic. Staying informed and understanding the issues at hand can seem like a full-time job many of us simply do not have time for. As a young man who has watched Truckee evolve rapidly over the past two decades, I wanted to educate myself on the development projects facing the area. Two years ago, I reached out to a local environmental organization, Mountain Area Preservation, whose mission is to serve as a voice for the community on development projects and “preserve the Truckee regions’ community character and the natural environment for present and future generations.”

MAP Executive Director Alexis Ollar and Development Director Ursula Riina recently talked about the importance of having a local organization involved in development projects to facilitate smart growth principles.  

“A lot of people often mistake MAP for an anti-development group,” said Ollar, “when in reality we’re collaborating with conservation organizations, developers, and community members to arrive at the best possible solution for sound land use planning, preservation of the environment and community character. Without collaboration, our 27 years of success wouldn’t have been possible.”

The group’s conservation work has created lasting change in helping to preserve landscapes in Martis Valley, Donner Summit, Coldstream Canyon, and Negro Canyon.

“With the help of our conservation partners, we have leveraged millions of dollars in transfer fees to provide funding for open space acquisition, habitat restoration, and workforce housing,” Riina said. “These funds have played a vital role in helping our partners at the Truckee Donner Land Trust and the Truckee River Watershed Council further our combined conservation goals to protect our home here in the Truckee/Tahoe region.”

The group is currently working to protect open space while being an advocate for smart growth development in eastern Truckee, Martis Valley, and Joerger Ranch.

Another example of MAP’s environmental leadership includes the approved Trout Creek Pocket Park, an environmental stewardship and community benefit project. The site in downtown Truckee was slated for revitalization in 1997 by the town before MAP spearheaded the project in 2007. The past seven years have been spent planning, designing, and permitting the current site; construction is now slated for spring 2015.

 “The park will provide visitors with a cultural, historical and environmental place to experience the unique character of our region,” Riina said. “It’s not uncommon for projects to last longer than a decade. Development takes a lot of time and dedication to see it through to the end.”

MAP currently depends on memberships and donations for project and operational support. Becoming a member of MAP allows you to partner with them in their efforts with local conservation groups and brings the community voice to the table. Donations also go toward outreach and mixers, and opportunities for the community to become educated on what’s happening both in Truckee and on a national level. This year, MAP hosted the Wild and Scenic Film Festival for the first time in Truckee. The festival featured more than 32 environmental films such as DamNation and Stand, and played to sold-out crowds both nights.

As someone privileged to work with MAP as a volunteer, I see its direct impact and place faith in its ability to act as a positive influence on development in Truckee’s future. Although the work may often span multiple years, the results are well worth the investment.  

“MAP continues to work diligently to be a voice for sound land use development and the preservation of the environment because it aligns with the mission and the interest of our members and community,” Ollar said.

For more information about MAP, its programs, and how to become a member, visit mapf.org.

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September 14, 2017