Breaking news, June 2018: The Truckee Donner Land Trust is excited to announce a new campaign to acquire Frog Lake and neighboring parcels, which would open up the pristine lake and surrounding landscapes to the public in 2020.
Working with The Trust for Public Land and The Nature Conservancy under the Northern Sierra Partnership, the capital campaign is now underway. Until these acquisitions are consummated, the Land Trust asks that members of the public respect the current owners' private property. Hikers can get a glimpse of Frog Lake from the top of Frog Lake Cliff by taking the Warren Lake Trail - find out how here.
Looking across Frog Lake at Frog Lake Cliff.
Totaling 2,914 acres, the properties are north of Interstate 80 and east of the Sierra Crest, falling between Castle Peak to the west and Tahoe Donner's Euer Valley to the east. Frog Lake, owned by the Smith family since the 1930s, has been closed to the public for nearly a century, preserving a beautiful landscape including the lake itself at 7,600 feet, Frog Lake Cliff, late seral forests and key habitat for numerous species.
An aerial view with Carpenter Valley in the foreground, Red Mountain to the left, Frog Lake Cliff in the Upper left.
The other acreage, currently owned by Sierra Pacific Industries, includes Red Mountain on the ridge between Euer Valley and Carpenter Valley. These parcels link Frog Lake to other Land Trust acquisitions, including Lower Carpenter Valley, Independence Lake, Perazzo Meadows, Webber Falls, Webber Lake and Lacey Meadows.
Looking up Red Mountain, photo by Rob Hirsch.
That connection is critical, creating contiguous land management, providing threatened and endangered species with connected habitat and protecting the upper watersheds of the middle stretch of the Truckee River. It protects upland water sources for the rare and delicate fens of Carpenter Valley, and is home to species like black bear, marten, mountain lion and northern goshawk.
The Land Trust and its partners have taken on the lofty goal of raising $15 million to acquire the property by 2020, at which point the property will be open to the public. Trails are planned to not only give visitors access to Frog Lake and the Carpenter Valley ridges, but also to connect other preserved properties, opening up huge swaths of the Northern Sierra previously unavailable to the public. Access will be for non-motorized use only, and backcountry skiing, snowboarding and snowshoeing will be excellent in the winter months.
Similar views from Frog Lake Cliff down to the lake in summer and winter - skiing photo by Bill Stevenson
An historic stone lodge, built for the Smith family, may become a winter backcountry hut, part of larger plans in the works for a hut system in the region.
The Frog Lake property was acquired by the late Felix Smith from the Southern Pacific Railroad in the 1930s, and it has been a summer retreat for the family since. The family has been a great steward of this extraordinary property, and with this commitment to Truckee Donner Land Trust, they have now achieved their goal to ensure it goes to conservation.