Start receiving our award-winning magazine today!


Forest Thinning at Independence Lake Preserve

Promoting a healthy forest to prevent catastrophic wildfire

If you can't see the forest for the trees, you may have more than just an old figure of speech.  In fact, you might have the conditions for a dangerous catastophic forest fire.

Three years ago, the forest at Independence Lake Preserve was densely overgrown and at serious risk for catastrophic wildfire.  We're fighting forest fires before they start by restoring the forest to a healthier condition.

Forest thinning at Independende Lake Preserve protects fresh drinking water for more than 300,00 people in two of the largest communities in Northern Nevada, Reno and Sparks.  And it helps maintain the lake's health and beauty as a recreation destination.

Not only could a catastrophic fire damage clean water for people, it could be disastrous for the native fish that call Independence Lake home. The lake supports one of only two remaining wild, self-suststaining lake populations of Lahonthan cutthroat trout in the world.

2013 marks the fourth year of forest restoration at Independence Lake Preserve, where we have – to date – restored more than 250 acres of forest through thinning of white fir and lodgepole pine.

Though logging has taken place at times in the past at Independence Lake, our strategies have changed quite a bit from the historic way of doing things.

You won't see horses and wagons like in this picture of historic logging at Independence Lake.  Today, large and specialized equipment helps us manage our forests efficiently and effectively.

Today, we use a variety of timber harvesting equipment that is designed for maximum results with minimal impact and uses technology like GIS tracking to verify project boundaries.

Dead, woody debris is removed and trees are cut down in areas where they're growing too close together.

The masticator, seen here, turns hazardous fuels into wood chips.

In the next several photos, you can see the difference that forest thinning makes.  This photo was taken before the forest-thinning project.

Here is the same area after forest thinning.

Before forest thinning.

After forest thinning.

Before forest thinning.

After forest thinning.

Sustainable forest management to prevent megafires is just one of the ways we are working at Independence Lake to find solutions to some of the biggest threats many of our natural places face across the country and around the globe.

Click here to plan your visit or to learn more about all the work we're doing to protect Independence Lake for nature and for people.

Without help from supporters like you, none of our work would be possible. Donate online now to support Independence Lake Preserve and all the work we're doing across the state.

We’re Accountable

The Nature Conservancy makes careful use of your support.

More Ratings

x animal

Sign up for Nature eNews!

Sign Up for Nature e-News

Learn about the places you love. Find out
how you can help.

Thank you for joining our online community!

We’ll be in touch soon with more Nature Conservancy news, updates and exciting stories.

Please leave this field empty

I'm already on the list!

Read our privacy policy.