Group is created to conserve tribal land |

Group is created to conserve tribal land

Staff reports

The Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California took action to protect and preserve disappearing landscapes from Honey Lake to Mono Lake by creating a land conservancy.

The first components of the Washoe Tribal Conservancy were created when two parcels totaling 851 acres were given Washoe Culture and Nature Preserve status on Sept. 8.

One of the main purposes of the tribal conservancy is to reintroduce the tribe into original homelands.

“The land provides the foundation needed for health and wellness of the Washoe people by nourishing spirits, feeding bodies and tying us to our ancestral roots,” said Tribal Chairman A. Brian Wallace.

The designation of Washoe Culture and Nature Preserve affords the highest protection for land use under Washoe tribal ownership and management. It limits use of the parcel to traditional and customary uses, prohibits any permanent residential, recreational or commercial development and disallows any trash or other debris to remain on the property.

The designation also bans construction of paved roads on the preserve.

The Washoe Tribal Conservancy was formed as a tax-exempt organization to let people know land can be donated to benefit anyone interested in the preservation of green space.

The conservancy provides protection and enhancement to all lands under the tribe’s jurisdiction within their aboriginal homelands.

“The mission of the conservancy is to acquire land and the access to land for plant gathering, habitat for wildlife, scenic quality, conditional public access and to position youth development through outdoor education,” said Jimmy Levi, Washoe Land Conservancy’s interim conservation specialist.

“The Washoe people used to inhabitant a large area,” said Levi. “This patchwork of land is allowing them to have access to parts of their original (territory). The traditional stewards are coming back.”

Levi said creation of the conservancy is part of a revitalization effort to help youth appreciate outdoor activities such as the Native Teen Extreme Challenge – a 12-mile hike from Carson City to traditional summer camps at Lake Tahoe that Washoe youth completed in June.

“Having land put aside in a conservancy helps to return youth to land in traditional ways,” Levi said.

The council awarded the status of culture and nature preserve on Babbit Peak and Ladies Canyon in Sierra County and on its Incline Village parcel. Also included were Upper Clear Creek in Carson City, Olympic Valley in Placer County, the Uhalde parcel and Skunk Harbor in Douglas County.

In addition to properties, the Washoe Tribal Council formally stated their dedication to the protection of two parcels not under current ownership but what they hope to acquire in the future. If acquired, the Dance Hill and South Lake Tahoe parcels will also be designated as a Washoe Culture and Nature Preserve.

The conservancy, in cooperation with the tribe’s Environmental Protection Department, manages and preserves tribal lands to ensure availability for generations to come. It is set up to receive lands within the aboriginal region that may be donated to the tribe for protection.

For more information, contact Levi at the Washoe Land Conservancy, 265-8600.

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