Path Clear for Canyon View Preserve
By Bob Cooley-Gilliom
Placer Land Trust is negotiating the acquisition of the 50-acre parcel known as “Canyon View Preserve“, north of Auburn.
Working with the American Land Conservancy, and with support from the Emigrant Trails Greenway Trust, PLT is clearing the path to take permanent title to the Preserve in December.
“This property is a great example of the type of land we’re looking to preserve along the American River Canyon,” said Jeff Darlington, Placer Land Trust’s Executive Director. “The land’s scenic and recreational values are very high. In addition, the steep oak woodlands and wetlands provide excellent habitat for a number of species.”
Located just off of the Bowman exit of Interstate 80 along Lincoln Way (just below the California Dept. of Forestry station), Canyon View Preserve is best known for the awesome views of the Sierras that motorists and visitors associate with the Auburn area. Placer Land Trust’s acquisition of the Preserve will permanently protect this community treasure.
Once the property is acquired and protected, PLT will consider putting a trailhead at the site in the future, with an interpretive trail linking up to Auburn State Recreation Area recreational trails leading down to the American River.
If you’re interested in helping PLT with acquisition costs, please call us at (916) 663-1476.
And the Winner is …
Matthew McKinney of Citrus Heights is the lucky winner of the Italian Malaguti motor scooter raffled off by Placer Land Trust!
On September 18, at the annual PlacerGROWN dinner, Placer County Supervisor Bill Santucci drew the winning raffle ticket.
The motor scooter was raffled off to raise funds for Placer Land Trust. Thank you to all who took a chance and donated to PLT by purchasing a ticket. Thanks also to our volunteer ticket-sellers!
The motor scooter was provided by PLT and Harley-Davidson of Folsom. Happy Trails Matt!
Committees Make PLT Successful
by Patricia Callan-McKinney (3rd in a series of three articles)
As reported in previous Land Lines, Placer Land Trust uses committees to carry out our work. Here are descriptions of the final three committees.
This committee is responsible for the continuing development of the Board of Directors through recruitment, nomination, orientation, training, evaluation and recognition.
Budget & Finance
This committee prepares the annual budget for the coming fiscal year and presents it to the Board for approval. This committee also monitors the organization’s compliance with the budget, and makes recommendations to the Board about finances.
Bylaws, Policies & Procedures
This committee reviews organizational documents and proposed policies to confirm that all actions are in accordance with the Trust’s Bylaws and approved policies. This committee is also responsible for the development of a Policies & Procedures Manual.
You can help! Its critical for the integrity of the Trust that our committees are able to do their work. With the exception of the Stewardship Committee, all committees must be chaired by or composed of one or more Board members. However, PLT members are invited and encouraged to participate. If you’d like to volunteer to serve on a committee, please let us know!
From the Board Room
The Williamson Act
Recently, several Board members and our Executive Director attended the national Land Trust Alliance Rally in Sacramento … a weekend of educational workshops and networking for the land trust community.
A young man working to protect open space in Monterey County asked me if we use the Williamson Act to preserve land.
I wanted to take this opportunity to comment on the Williamson Act. Formally known as the California Land Conservation Act, the Williamson Act was ratified in 1965 to aid in protecting California’s agricultural and open space resources. Landowners enter into 10-year voluntary contracts with counties or cities to restrict their land to agriculture and compatible open space uses. In return, taxable land values are assessed for their actual use rather than the potential market value of the property. Local governments are partially reimbursed for lost property tax revenues. In 2001, over 16 million acres were preserved through the Williamson Act, including 44,745 acres in Placer County.
Placer Land Trust does not hold Williamson Act contracts. However, when assisting landowners with conservation decisions, we make them aware of all possible options. Because contracts under the Williamson Act may be terminated, they do not guarantee permanent land preservation.
For more information about the Williamson Act, contact the Placer County Planning Department at (530) 886-3000.
Placer Profile: Mehrey Vaghti
Restoration Ecologist Joins PLT Board of Directors
By Bob Cooley-Gilliom
Placer Land Trust is pleased to announce that Auburn resident Mehrey Vaghti has joined our Board of Directors.
“We’re thrilled to have Mehrey on our Board,” said Executive Director Jeff Darlington. “Her technical skills in landscape analysis and environmental management will be of great help to us in analyzing and prioritizing land protection projects, creating and monitoring baseline documentation, and providing long-term stewardship for protected lands.”
Mehrey brings a variety of skills and experience to the Board, notably her expertise in ecology and restoration. She graduated with High Honors from U.C. Davis with a degree in Environmental Biology & Management, and is receiving a Master’s Degree in Restoration Ecology. She has worked as a horticulturist, habitat biologist, forester, ecologist, botanist, and GIS technician, including consulting work with the California Dept. of Fish & Game, the California Native Plant Society, and several national recreation areas. She is also a trained trail construction worker and wildland firefighter.
“I’ve spent many years exploring and working in natural systems,” says Mehrey. “My greatest hope is that civilization and nature can form a mutually-beneficial, sustainable, partnership. Such a vision requires multiple generations of dedicated stewards and land protected in perpetuity. Placer Land Trust provides this foundation.”
Mehrey has been overseeing Placer Land Trust’s restoration project along Canyon Creek at Auburn’s Stagecoach Preserve, using her experience in restoration ecology, botany, landscape analysis, and environmental management. She also serves on PLT’s Fundraising and Stewardship Committees, and assists with GIS map analysis.
With the upcoming plans for a new Placer Land Trust office in Auburn, Mehrey hopes to volunteer significant hours to help create stewardship plans and help with some of our other operations and workload.
“We’re at a critical point in time here in Placer County,” she says. “Some of our most diverse natural areas and productive farm and ranch lands are rapidly being developed. I look forward to contributing to the immediate success of Placer Land Trust in preserving some of our precious open spaces and agricultural lands.”
Mehrey enjoys getting out on the trails and rivers in Placer County for boating, hiking, running and botanizing. She is a dedicated gardener and enjoys propagating native plants.
Mehrey lives in Auburn with her new husband Tom Toy. The couple recently tied the knot at the American River. Congratulations and welcome Mehrey!
One of the questions we often get asked is: “how is Placer Land Trust funded, and how are the funds allocated?”
The sources of funds are primarily donations and grants, and they are categorized as unrestricted or restricted.
Annual membership contributions are the lifeline of the organization. Not only do these funds provide for everyday operating costs, but they also provide tangible evidence of community support. There are several levels of individual and family memberships, plus our business membership program. Membership funds are unrestricted, meaning that these moneys are spent with the approval of the Board where the need is greatest.
Annual fundraising events such as our Placer Harvest Celebration and raffles are also important sources of unrestricted funds.
Grant money is requested from granting agencies (either private or governmental) by the Trust to fund Board-approved projects and programs. Grant funds are usually restricted, and must always be carefully accounted for.
The Trust also willingly accepts cash, stock, real property, and even used cars as contributions. These gifts may be restricted if the donor so wishes; otherwise the proceeds are treated as unrestricted. The Trust is careful to see that the wishes of the donor are honored.
In the next Land Lines, more information about endowments and funds allocation will be provided.
— Patricia Callan-McKinney
Executive Director’s Report
The Time is Now!
In the time it takes you to read this issue of Land Lines, more than a dozen acres of our open spaces and agricultural lands are being bulldozed to create housing and commercial development.
This may sound alarmist, but it’s true nonetheless. The open fields that characterize Placer County are disappearing rapidly, and the time to act is now if we want to save a portion of these lands.
You can make a difference by supporting Placer Land Trust! Please take a moment today to renew your annual membership and RSVP for our annual Placer Harvest Celebration. Take a look at the photograph below if you need some incentive, and remember that Placer Land Trust believes in preserving land for people such as yourself … its not just for the birds!