Forest Service and Nevada Land Trust complete transfer of Bull Wheel parcel to public ownership

Forest Service and Nevada Land Trust complete transfer of Bull Wheel parcel to public ownership
By NLT

LAKE TAHOE, Calif./Nev., March 30, 2021 – The USDA Forest Service Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit (LTBMU) and Nevada Land Trust are pleased to announce the completed donation of 18.6 acres of land in Incline Village to the National Forest System. This parcel, known as the Bull Wheel property, provides the missing link needed to connect the seven-mile-long Incline Flume Trail from Mt. Rose Highway to Tunnel Creek creating an expanded trail system for hiking, mountain biking and running.

“The Bull Wheel gift has certainly been one of the highlights of our 22 years,” said Nevada Land Trust Executive Director, Alicia Reban. “Starting with the Duffield’s generosity, all our partners have brought their skills to the table for the greater good. Conservation is stronger when we work together.”

The Bull Wheel project began in 2016 when Cheryl and David Duffield, owners of the Ponderosa Ranch, donated the parcel to Nevada Land Trust. Since then, Friends of Incline Trails and Nevada Land Trust have partnered to realign and restore this section of trail to prepare it for public use.

Most of the transaction costs came from the sale of public land under the authority of the Southern Nevada Public Lands Management Act. Additional funding was provided by the Tahoe Fund and through a grant from the Recreational Trails Program administered by the Nevada Division of State Parks. 

An important feature of this land is the historic Bull Wheel structure constructed as part of the ‘Great Incline of the Sierra,’ which is recognized as one of the most spectacular early lumber operations in the Lake Tahoe Basin. The structure was used from 1880-1894 to transport lumber over the mountains and is the only known use of a bull wheel for logging purposes.

“The transfer of this historic parcel to the National Forest System provides benefits for current and future generations,” said Forest Supervisor, Bill Jackson. “Under public ownership, the parcel will be managed to protect Lake Tahoe’s water quality, scenic and recreational resources and provides a key link for the popular Incline Flume Trail and beyond.”

The much-anticipated Incline Flume Trail link is an easy, flat trail that offers amazing, high elevation views of Lake Tahoe and is an experience that even beginner mountain-bike riders can enjoy. The connection also provides linkage to miles of single-track trail south to Spooner Summit.

“Our sincere thanks go out to Nevada Land Trust for facilitating the generous donation of this parcel to the Forest Service,” said Lands Program Manager, Bob Rodman. “We also wish to thank the Forest Service’s Pacific Southwest regional land adjustment team for their role in helping to finalize this valuable addition to the LTBMU.”

A celebration and formal ribbon cutting will be held at a later date to be announced.

Most of the National Forest land in the basin has been acquired through exchanges, purchases, donations and through the authority of the Santini-Burton Act, which date dates to Dec 23, 1980 and directed the LTBMU to acquire environmentally sensitive lands around the Tahoe Basin to safeguard them from potential development in order to protect the water quality of Lake Tahoe.

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