15-minute drive east of Reno, NV
McCarran Ranch Preserve is open to the public year-round from dawn until dusk daily. The preserve features interpretive signage, an outdoor amphitheater and trails through habitat along the Truckee River restored by The Nature Conservancy. Thanks to our efforts there, bird species not seen in decades have returned, trout and other native fish are taking advantage of the newly created habitat, and cottonwoods and willows are making a strong comeback. Recreational opportunities include hiking, fishing, bird-watching and rafting.
Also Visit: Lockwood Park, where The Nature Conservancy has led similar restoration efforts. Directions to Lockwood Park: Directions from Reno: Take 1-80 East to the Exit 22 (Lockwood - approximately 5 minutes outside of Sparks). Go right (South) off of exit onto Canyon Road and turn right again into Lockwood Park before you reach the bridge.
60-minute drive west of Reno, NV
The 2,325-acre Independence Lake Preserve is open year-round for walk-in day use. Watercraft are available for use from June through October. No motorized or non-motorized watercraft from outside the preserve are permitted. Nestled high in the Sierra Nevada at almost 7,000 feet, Independence Lake’s beauty and rustic nature are matched only by the amazing diversity of life it supports. Independence Lake is home to one of only two wild, self-sustaining lake populations of Lahontan cutthroat trout in the world. The surrounding meadows and forests provide habitat for black bears, mountain lions, bald eagles, ospreys and golden eagles. As part of the Truckee River watershed, the lake is crucial to the system that supplies clean drinking water to Northern Nevada, including Reno and Sparks.
15-minute drive south of Carson City, NV
River Fork Ranch Preserve on the Carson River is open to the public daily from dawn until dusk. A trailhead through a patchwork of pastures, meadows and wetlands provides public access to a showcase of successful land protection, habitat restoration, sustainable agriculture and wildlife viewing areas. The Whit Hall Interpretive Center has Platinum certification in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) from the U.S. Green Building Council, and is the hub of the Conservancy’s efforts along the Carson River. It is open for scheduled events throughout the year.
15-minute drive south of Carson City, NV
At Bently Ranch – Kirman Field, nearly 5 miles of natural surface trail and boardwalks provide the public with unprecedented access to the Carson River through private property while maintaining large undisturbed tracts of critical wildlife habitat in a traditional working landscape. Classic western ranching landscapes not only preserve an important part of our cultural heritage, they also provide natural benefits including habitat for plants, birds and wildlife; floodplains to capture and slow down of flood waters; water purification; and groundwater recharge.
90-minute drive northwest of Las Vegas, NV
Torrance Ranch Preserve is open daily from dawn until dusk and features a boardwalk and interpretive signage that provide visitors with an up-close look at restored Amargosa toad habitat and access to desert oasis bird-watching locations. The Nature Conservancy has been working at Torrance Ranch, its first restoration project in the Oasis Valley, since 1999. The ranch is part of the unique aquatic system created by the Amargosa River, which runs underground for most of its 125-mile course. Where the river sporadically surfaces in the Mojave, it has created ecologically rich oases with habitat for nearly 50 species found nowhere else on Earth.
EXPLORE OTHER PLACES WE’VE HELPED PROTECT IN NEVADA
Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area: Red Rock Canyon is one of the most popular destinations in Nevada for outdoor enthusiasts. The Nature Conservancy helped add 5,000 acres to this spectacular desert playground. Get more details and plan your visit.
Franklin Lake Wildlife Management Area: Franklin Lake in the Ruby Valley is one of the top destinations in northeastern Nevada, particularly for fishermen and waterfowl hunters. The Nature Conservancy helped conserve nearly 10,000 acres of wetlands and upland habitat at Franklin Lake. Get more details and plan your visit.
Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge: Ash Meadows offers beauty and intrigue for desert adventure seekers as the largest and most diverse oasis on one of the world’s longest underground rivers. The Nature Conservancy helped prevent this 13,000-acre natural wonder from being turned into a subdivision. Get more details and plan your visit.
All Photos © Simon Williams/The Nature Conservancy, except Bently-Kirman Field © Tim Torell and Franklin Lake/American avocet © Mark Haywood/Flickr CC