Last Saturday we drove a few miles east of Reno/Sparks to the Patrick Exit on 80 to the trailhead of the McCarran Ranch Preserve. I saw online that the trail was now open to the public!
The McCarran Ranch was homesteaded in 1862 and encompassed approximately 2600 acres in the Truckee River canyon east of Sparks. Many, many years ago the Corp of Engineers straightened the river out…luckily for us, The Nature Conservancy has been rectifying that. In 2002 they created wetlands and riffles and started revegetation and invasive weed control on 20 acres. In 2006 they added another 100 acres. Last year they opened up a stretch of the river to the public between Lockwood and 102 Ranch (USA Parkway Exit).
A third of the way through our walk we came upon a bunch of people working on a wetlands project near the river…planting willows and grading the slopes. Met Martin, Volunteer Coordinator for the Nature Conversancy in Nevada, he said the volunteers were from Truckee Meadows Community College’s Natural Resources class. After crossing a bridge to the north side of the river we met up with Martin again at the Ranch House’s amphitheater where he fed us lunch, gave us extra water and lots of information on the project! They couldn’t have picked a better person for that job! Thanks, Martin!
We continued east on the north side of the river where we crossed the train trestle where I prayed I wouldn’t end up like a flatten penny on the tracks…but the fishermen where doing it, so I ran across the plank way. I’d probably loop back the way I came the next time I’m there…which will be as soon as the trees start leafing…and in the fall when they start to change colors. :)
Birds spotted on our walk besides the sparrows and finches were Kingfisher, Bald Eagle, swallows.
I took lots of pictures so I put them into a slideshow. Hopefully it plays for you…and with the music too (which, if you hear it, is The Roan Inish Theme from the movie Secret of Roan Inish).
LINK TO SLIDESHOW ~ ncn_mccarran