Photo by Peter Tye
Home to the Washoe People for thousands of years, the Olympic Meadow property is the gateway to Olympic Valley and the world-renowned Squaw Valley Ski Resort. Squaw Creek meanders through the meadow, and the famous peaks of the 1960 Winter Games frame the landscape. It’s the first iconic view that greets visitors after passing by the Olympic Rings and eternal flame.
Today, working with the Squaw Valley Public Service District, we have a once-in-a-lifetime chance to forever save a unique landscape that ties together the history, the natural splendor and the community of Olympic Valley. The Truckee Donner Land Trust is under contract to purchase this property, preventing the potential for another massive development.
An Opportunity to be a Part of History: The valley, and particularly the meadow, are sacred sites to the Washoe. It was an ancient custom to hunt migrating mule deer for winter food on the ridges above the valley. Squaw Valley Ski Resort Founder Wayne Poulsen first visited Olympic Valley on a high school camping trip — dreaming of skiing the sawtooth granite peaks that cast their shadows across the meadow. After marrying, he and his wife Sandy chose this property and honeymooned there in 1943, eventually building their family home. As the valley moved into the limelight with the 1960 Winter Olympic Games, the Poulsen’s fought efforts to pave over the valley for parking, protecting 150 acres of meadow. Today, we have the opportunity to once again protect a portion of this beautiful and storied property, ensuring its preservation in perpetuity.
An Opportunity for Conservation: A mix of mountain meadow, forest and a stretch of Squaw Creek meandering through, the Olympic Meadow Property is a rare opportunity for conservation in the valley. It is the view enjoyed by visitors and residents alike each time they pass by, whether by road or the neighboring bike path. With the success of this acquisition, Olympic Meadow could be a space for the public to enjoy via hiking trails and a picnic area, bringing the community into the heart of the meadow and to the creek’s burbling edge.
An Opportunity for our Community: The acquisition of Olympic Meadow is an opportunity to bring the community — both inside the valley and out — together to achieve something great. The successful acquisition of the property will allow for a collaborative process through which the community will determine the best uses for the existing residence and developable portion of the property under the guidance of the Squaw Valley Public Service District.
An Opportunity for Restoration: The wandering stretch of Squaw Creek on the property is one of three reaches identified by the Friends of Squaw Creek for restoration — $1.6 million in grant funding in hand, ready to do the work. Restoration would enhance the health of the meadow, both on and off the property, bring back fish habitat, and improve water quality — positively affecting the Truckee River just downstream. The successful acquisition of this property opens the door for that critical work to begin.
An Opportunity to Stop Further Development: Zoned for roughly 300 bedroom-units, the Olympic Valley property in the hands of another buyer could completely change the character of this land, and the valley, forever. The possibilities for public access and use would vanish, and the views that greet visitors and residents alike could be lost.
Working with the Squaw Valley Public Service District on this project, the Land Trust brings its acquisition and stewardship experience to the table, seeking private donations to greatly reduce the costs that will be put before the District’s voters in a revenue measure planned for November 2019.
Find out how you can help by contacting Director of Philanthropy Kate Frankfurt or calling (530)582-4711, or donate now by clicking the button below and specifying "Olympic Meadow" in the project window.