Fall Play Day at the Heart K Ranch

One of the features of the Heart K Ranch in Genesee is the big barn, dating to the 19th century, near the road. Visitors can explore the 900-acre ranch during a Fall Play Day on Oct. 12. Photo courtesy Feather River Land Trust
Feather Publishing

The Feather River Land Trust invites all community members and visitors to the Fall Play Day on Saturday, Oct. 12, at the Heart K Ranch in Genesee Valley.

The event offers a wide variety of activities on the 900-acre ranch from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., including hands-on volunteer opportunities, a talking tour and a hike in the morning that will take visitors past century-old barns.

The afternoon will include a barbecue, a Feather River watershed hula hoop contest and a silent auction. There is an activity to fit most interests and guests can come for the whole day or just part of it. All activities will begin at the ranch house.

The volunteer activities (9 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.) will include a forest cleanup and restoration of the 100-year-old granary. The forest cleanup is intended to remove slash from the forest caused by a spring thinning operation. The slash is in firewood-size rounds, which will be available for volunteers to haul away for personal firewood. The granary restoration project will be focused on shoring up the foundation so that the granary does not collapse and destroy another historic building.

Darrel Jury, the project coordinator for the Healthy Forest Project (funded by the Sierra Nevada Conservancy) will be coordinating the forest cleanup project, and Nils Lunder will be in charge of the restoration project.

At 10 a.m. Dana Fenimore will guide hikers on an easy hike along the Heart K back road showcasing a beautiful view of the valley and the historic Davis barn. This will be followed by a fairly steep hike up to a vista point that looks over the valley. Hikers who choose not to go on the more advanced hike can enjoy the beauty of the Heart K Ranch while returning to the starting point at their own speed. Good hiking shoes and long pants would be important for the more advanced hike.

From 11:30 to 12:30 a talking tour of Heart K Ranch will be available at the ranch house, led by Gabe Miller, FRLT stewardship director; Trina Cunningham, part of a Maidu family with current and historical ties to the ranch and a member of the Maidu Summit Consortium; and Terri Rust, coordinator for the Feather River Resource District, representing the Healthy Forest Project.

Together they will discuss the ecological, cultural, historical and agricultural significance of the 900-acre ranch. Guides will share stewardship plans including sustainable agriculture, incorporation of Maidu Native American land use techniques, and restoration efforts.

At 1 p.m. everyone will meet back at the Heart K Ranch house for a barbecue featuring local Thompson Valley beef hamburgers. Paul Hardy, FRLT’s executive director, will welcome everyone and give a very brief history of the conservation of this land.

The event is free but the barbecue is $10 for adults (free for those who volunteer in the morning) and kids 10 and under are free. There will be a no-host bar including local beer from The Brewing Lair. Guests should bring a chair or blanket for sitting and eating. Some chairs will be available. RSVP to 283-5758 or or go to

In the afternoon, guests can hang out enjoying the scenery, historic buildings and good company and watch or participate in the first Feather River watershed hula hoop contest. Hula hoops will be available for practicing and for entering the contest. There will be three contests: one for duration for kids, one duration for adults and one for artistic hula hooping. Special T-shirts will be awarded to the winners.

A silent auction will also be held from noon to 3 p.m. to help raise funds for the stewardship of the Heart K Ranch. Auction items include a quilt, a barn quilt for the home or business, monthly delivery of home-baked pies for a year, two fall baskets and one holiday basket. Winners will be announced at 3 p.m.

After 10 years of community effort the Feather River Land Trust now owns the ranch, protecting if forever. This event is an opportunity to experience a beautiful place and learn about its value for generations to come.

Directions: The ranch is approximately 15 miles from the intersection of Highway 89 and A22 (the “Taylorsville T”) Follow the road to Taylorsville. Bear right onto Genesee Road, and continue for approximately 9 miles. Heart K will be on the left (look for the large red barn. Address: 702 Beckwourth-Genesee Road, Taylorsville, CA 95983.

Organizers ask that participants RSVP to make sure there is enough food for everyone.

More information is available at or by calling the Feather River Land Trust at 283-5758.

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