Land Trust to acquire Poulsen property

Courtesy The Poulsen Family

About 30 acres of property owned by one of Olympic Valley’s founding families will be preserved by a unique joint effort between the Truckee Donner Land Trust (TDLT) and Squaw Valley Public Service District (SVPSD). This one-of-a-kind parcel in an otherwise developed ski destination, the Olympic Meadow property has been owned by the Poulsen family since 1942 when Wayne and Sandy Poulsen camped there as newlyweds.

“I grew up in a quieter Squaw Valley and have seen many changes over the decades, but the meadow has been one constant over time,” said Bill Hudson, a SVPSD board member, in a press release. “This acquisition will help guarantee that a large portion will be opened to the public and best serve the entire community.”

The district is working with TDLT to acquire the property within a short time frame. While TDLT has protected more than 36,000 acres throughout the region, this will be its first project in Olympic Valley.

“At long last residents and visitors alike will be able to walk along Squaw Creek and picnic in the meadow in a valley otherwise dominated by private recreational opportunities,” said Perry Norris, TDLT executive director, in the press release.

With a contract signed to move forward, the two entities will work with the Poulsen family to set a final price. Once the necessary funds are raised through private donations and a potential property tax, parcel tax or bond issue, and the acquisition is successfully completed, a rigorous public outreach process will be used to determine the best uses for the portions of the property not earmarked for conservation. Those portions zoned for open space will be a priority for trails and public access.

“The one thing that will not happen on the property is another subdivision or massive development project,” Norris said.

The meadow blooms with wildflowers each year and a popular bike path running through the valley parallels the property where many passersby enjoy the view. Beyond its natural beauty, the property includes a recreational fishery and is in an important position for future watershed restoration that could improve water quality downstream in the Truckee River. Friends of Squaw Creek recently received $1.6 million grant for restoration of 15 acres and planning is underway for projects to improve creek and meadow health.

Those interested in hearing more about this project and being involved in the public process, can attend one of the next district meetings in the community room at 305 Squaw Valley Road in Olympic Valley. Board meetings are on Jan. 29 and Feb. 26, both at 8:30 a.m. A Parks and Recreation Committee meeting is on Feb. 12 at 2 p.m. Those interested in being on the distribution mailing list for upcoming meetings, contact Jessica Asher at ompinfo@svpsd.org. | tdlandtrust.org