Betsy Caughlin Donnelly Park
3295 Mayberry Drive, Reno, NV 89519 (click here to view a map)
Park Ranger Office: (775) 828-6612
A picturesque 30-acre neighborhood park located in west Reno, this park features six acres of landscaped grounds, walking trails, benches, and breathtaking views of the Sierras. A large 20-acre irrigated pasture offers a pastoral view into our past ranching tradition in the Truckee Meadows. The property is also home to a historic ranch house once belonging to the Caughlin family.
Betsy Caughlin Donnelly Park is the proud home of Reno Food System's Park Farm!
Reno Food Systems has partnered with Washoe County Parks to create a 5-acre vegetable farm located at the northeast corner of the park along Mayberry Drive, just east of the historic ranch house property. This small demonstration farm will serve the community by training farmers and increasing local food production. Farm interns working on the property will receive hands-on experience growing high-density, organic crops in Northern Nevada's arid climate through natural and regenerative methods.
Reno Food Systems is a local non-profit that promotes healthy communities through urban agriculture. Their mission is cultivating community-based food systems through education, research and civic engagement. To learn more about Reno Food Systems and the Betsy Caughlin Donnelly Park Farm, visit www.renofoodsystems.org. Comments and questions can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are interested in purchasing produce grown on this farm, email email@example.com. Those interested in volunteering can contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Once situated on a vast turn-of-the-century working ranch comprising some 6,000 acres, the 30-acre Betsy Caughlin Donnelly Park was donated to Washoe County for preservation as open space in 1990 by Betsy Caughlin Donnelly. The daughter of William Henry Caughlin and Christine “Crissie” Andrews Caughlin, Elizabeth “Betsy” was born in the ranch house next to the park in 1902. She was the youngest of four Caughlin children. Betsy recalled later in her life that she and her siblings used to look forward to riding in their horse-drawn buggy into Reno to go to the movies. She attended Reno High School, graduating in 1921. She studied art and married Roger Donnelly in 1936. Roger owned a roofing company in San Francisco, so the couple lived there for over 25 years. Upon retirement in the 1960s, the couple returned to Reno. At the death of her mother in 1955, Betsy and her siblings took over ownership and operation of the ranch which then totaled about 3,000 acres. Betsy passed away in 1999, after which the last of the Caughlin family’s ranch house possessions (furniture, antiques, paintings, and kitchenware) went up for sale.
On the south side of the pasture along Plumb Lane is the Last Chance Ditch. Built in 1874, this was one of many ditches built in the Reno area. The name comes from the belief by its builders—George Andrews (grandfather of Betsy Caughlin Donnelly), Enoch Morrill, and Winslow P. Nay—to be their last opportunity to tap into the waters of the Truckee River. This ditch is 17-miles long and begins near Mogul and ends at Zolezzi Lane where it joins with White’s Creek. George Andrews sold his portion of the ditch (the first eight miles) to James Mayberry in 1877 with the provision that the Andrews Ranch (later the Caughlin Ranch) could access the water in perpetuity. Caughlin family history tells of George digging part of the ditch with pick and shovel and surveying the layout of the ditch. Over the many years, there were lawsuits over water rights to the ditch, but the Caughlin family prevailed.
Activities: Walking Trails, Junior Ranger Program, Photography