What started as one couple’s personal endeavor grew into a local movement—inspiring others to take notice and to act—for the benefit of all.
“Red Tail Acres” donation by LeRoy Pendleton
Since 1992, LeRoy Pendleton has made significant efforts to protect the 11.66 acres of land that he owns along Reno’s popular Steamboat Ditch Trail and ensure public access forever. He began by donating an access easement to the Nevada Trust for Public Lands in 1992, an act that was ahead of its time and generated significant publicity.
The struggle to retain continued public use of the trail has shown that his foresight was keen, while the hundreds of people who regularly use the trail, enjoy the view, and appreciate the wildlife within his property are grateful for his efforts.
Still, LeRoy’s vision didn’t end there. His wife, Joyce, had initially encouraged him to purchase the land she affectionately dubbed “Red Tail Acres” in 1988, and with her passing in 2005, LeRoy found himself struggling with how to ensure that her wishes that it remain open space with access for all would be honored. His concerns led him to Nevada Land Trust. At that time, the City of Reno was still working to develop their Open Space and Greenways Plan, and LeRoy was aware of their efforts. In fact, the City’s plan had identified his property as a key acquisition desired by the City for protection. Nevada Land Trust offered to hold the land until the City of Reno had adopted the Open Space and Greenways Plan, offering their protection in the interim in case LeRoy was not able to convey the property to the City himself.
The plan was adopted in March of 2007, and “Red Tail Acres” was conveyed to the City of Reno on July 11 of that year as the first property donated under the auspices of its Open Space and Greenways Plan. Nevada Land Trust continues to hold a conservation easement on the property, offering another level of protection against development of this beautiful canyon.
LeRoy’s generous action and diligent pursuit of permanent protection for Joyce’s beloved land has been detailed through stories in local media. As a result, he has inspired many others who fight for open space protection or have considered donating land or an easement in a similar fashion. His donation also has the potential to serve as a match for state or federal funds used to purchase more open space—a prospect that could prove monumental to local conservation efforts.