On July 7, 2016, Placer Land Trust and our project partners held a dedication ceremony in celebration of the permanent protection of Christian Valley Park, a 16-acre recreation property east of Auburn. The public was invited to attend the celebration, which included the unveiling of a new sign, a fun archery activity, and yummy ice cream — which was a nice treat on a warm July day. Several people brought their kids who all seemed to enjoy the archery – and of course the ice cream! Also in attendance for the celebration was Placer County Supervisor Jennifer Montgomery, as well as former PLT Assistant Director Jessica Daugherty, who now works for the Stewardship Council, one of the project partners.
The land was previously owned by the Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) who donated it to the Auburn Area Recreation & Parks District (ARD) in June. Simultaneously, a conservation easement was granted to Placer Land Trust to guarantee the park will be protected forever.
Quite different from most of our projects, we were very pleased to be involved with the permanent protection of this property to ensure it remains open for the public as a recreational area. The conservation easement will permanently prohibit subdivision, development and other land uses that interfere with the property’s beneficial values, guaranteeing it will remain a public park.
A little history…. ARD has been running recreation activities at the park since 2001 through a lease with PG&E. Owning the park outright will save ARD $1,800 per year in lease payments and give them the ability to plan for the long term, rather than year-to-year, according to ARD Administrator Kahl Muscott. This popular park has easy access off I-80, a multi-use sports field, picnic tables, and oak woodlands offering a beautiful setting for family and community recreation, including Little League baseball and youth soccer.
Our job at Placer Land Trust is to ensure that the property is kept open and accessible — not only for the public today but also for future generations. The conservation easement permanently protects Christian Valley Park and the benefits this land provides the public – specifically public recreation, scenic open space, and natural habitat. Funding for the perpetual monitoring and enforcement of the conservation easement was provided by a grant from the Pacific Forest and Watershed Stewardship Council, along with pooled contributions from our members.
For Placer Land Trust, this project is planned to be the first of many working with PG&E and the Stewardship Council. As part of a land conservation commitment stemming from a 2003 bankruptcy settlement, PG&E is working with land trusts, the Stewardship Council, and other partners to permanently protect 140,000 acres of resource and recreation land in Northern California, including over 6,200 acres in Placer County to be protected by Placer Land Trust.
Christian Valley Park can be visited by the public anytime. For questions about sports and other organized recreational activities at the park, contact ARD at (530) 885-8461.