American River Canyon Lands Preserved
By Bob Cooley-Gilliom
Placer Land Trust ended 2003 with two exceptional acquisitions for conservation of open space land in Placer County, totaling 125 acres.
Completion of these projects is the culmination of months of planning, cost analysis, negotiations, and property evaluation, launching us into the coming year with great expectations for further successes on several additional open space and agricultural land conservation projects.
First, we’re pleased to be the new owners of Canyon View Preserve, 50 acres of beautiful oak woodlands and grasslands along the American River Canyon rim north of Auburn near the intersection of Lincoln Way and the Bowman Road exit of Interstate 80.
Permanent preservation of this land guarantees unobstructed views of the High Sierra and American River Canyon from I-80, preserves critical canyon rim ecosystems and streams that drain to the American River, and presents the opportunity to work with others to create a new trailhead into the adjacent Auburn State Recreation Area.
Canyon View Preserve was gratefully received by donation from the American Land Conservancy, a national land conservation organization that worked closely with us to achieve this transition to local ownership and management by Placer Land Trust.
Presently, we’re developing our stewardship plan for Canyon View Preserve and will soon be launching a fundraising drive to meet our requirements for basic property maintenance, annual monitoring, insurance, and other expenses.
Our second acquisition is a conservation easement on 75 acres of forested canyon land located in south Auburn, overlooking the American River. This property also adjoins public land extending to the American River and preserves natural foothill habitats and creek drainage.
The conservation easement, along with an endowment to support long-term stewardship, was donated to Placer Land Trust by owners Ron and Sharon Bettencourt. The easement permanently protects the land from future development or other activities detrimental to the ecological character of the land, regardless of future changes in ownership that may occur. Public access to the Western States Trail through existing trails on the property is not affected by our easement.
We are currently in discussions with landowners about preserving adjacent properties, thus extending the preserved landscape in this area.
These exciting new projects continue Placer Land Trust’s progress on one of our most important long-term priorities, protection of the American River Canyon. We’ve already protected Stagecoach Preserve in Auburn, near the popular Stagecoach Trailhead. The Trust also co-owns with Protect American River Canyons a 30-acre riverfront preserve located along the Codfish Falls Trail near Ponderosa Road, southeast of Weimar.
Currently, we’re also working with landowners, funders, and conservation partners to preserve natural lands in the North Fork American River Wild & Scenic Area near Green Valley, Giant Gap, Gold Run, and Secret Ravine (near Dutch Flat).
PLT Has Moved!
By Jeff Darlington
Placer Land Trust has moved to a new office in Auburn.
Through a generous lease agreement with the Auburn Area Recreation District (ARD), the Trust has set up shop at the American River Canyon Overlook at 855 Pacific Avenue in Auburn. Our office is located in the modular building to the left of the parking lot, near the Auburn Staging Area for the Western States Trail.
Please make a note of our new phone number: (530) 887-9222. Our mailing address and e-mail address remain the same.
To contact us:
P.O. Box 9222
Auburn, CA 95604
To visit us:
Placer Land Trust
American River Canyon Overlook
855 Pacific Avenue, Auburn
Our office hours are from 7:30am to 6:30pm on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.
300+ Celebrate Placer Agriculture
Second Annual Placer Harvest Celebration a Hit
By Jeff Darlington
The 2nd annual Placer Harvest Celebration was held Nov. 15, 2003, and once again the community showed its support of our agricultural industry by turning out in force.
Over 300 people attended the event, which was highlighted by lively music, a fun auction, and great eats. Themed “cowboy casual”, the crowd was put in the mood by the traditional Western folk music and cowboy ballads of the band Old West from Georgetown.
High Sierra Beef provided tasty appetizers as the crowd warmed up. We had a wonderful country BBQ catered by Cow Camp Grill & Seasoning Company from Lincoln, and dessert from Newcastle Produce.
Beer was provided by Beermann’s Beerworks from Lincoln, and wine was provided by Mt. Vernon Winery from Auburn. Locally produced PlacerGROWN products were featured throughout.
Dan Macon once again called the live country auction, as thousands of dollars worth of donated items and services were auctioned off.
A huge thank-you goes out to our event sponsors: Janice Forbes (Auburn), Foxglove Environmental (Meadow Vista), Sierra Business Council (Truckee), Placer Legacy (Auburn), Placer County Farm Bureau (Newcastle), Placer County Water Agency (Auburn), Adams & Hayes Law (Lincoln), Aronowitz & Skidmore Attorneys-at-law (Auburn), Auburn Community Bank (Auburn), and Beermann’s Beerwerks (Lincoln). Proceeds benefit Placer Land Trust’s land conservation efforts.
Thanks also to our wonderful crew of dedicated volunteers, without whom this event would not be possible.
From the Board Room
Preserving the Lincoln High School Farm
After becoming the newest member of Placer Land Trust Board of Directors, and because I’m a graduate of Lincoln High School and a third-generation farmer, I was asked to write an article about the Lincoln High School Farm project.
I thought, hmmm, this would be an excellent opportunity to uncover some dirt and name names in western Placer County.
First, some history. 280 acres of land west of Lincoln near the intersection of Moore and Dowd Road were part of a large communications facility run by the U.S. Air Force for many years.
(I wonder who they were talkin’ to,and does Art Bell know about this? We could have our own “Area 51” right here in Placer County.) About 30 years ago, the facility’s antennas were upgraded, requiring less land. At that time, Western Placer Unified School District Superintendent Orrin Hoffman, Congressman Gene Chappie, and others started an effort to have the land transferred to the school district for use as a school farm.
Early funding for the classrooms, buildings, fencing and the like (that created today’s facility) came from state and federal government grants. The farm has since developed and operated successfully for three decades, providing unique educational opportunities for students in our rural area.
In December 2003, the school board voted to permanently preserve the property upon receiving it from the government (scheduled for February 2004), through the means of property transfer and an agricultural easement. The attorneys are now working out the details of the transfer to the Lincoln High School Farm Foundation, to ensure that the land will be developed solely as a school farm, with a small part set aside for a new high school campus. Placer Land Trust has expressed our willingness to hold an agricultural easement on the property.
I’m involved in the effort to preserve the Lincoln High School Farm, and I wanted to mention some of the people who have worked to make the farm the success it is today, and others still who are working to permanently preserve it:
Bob & Ralph Aitken, Mike Boyer, John Bozzo, Paul Ferrari, Mark Fowler, Randy Fritts, Bill Gari, Nick Greco, Paul Long, Stan Manning, Pat McCartney, Joe Medeiros, Bob Moore, Dale Pence, Park Schuler, John Steinwandt, Gary Targanos, John Taylor, Mike Trueblood, Don Vasconcellos, Glenn Vineyard, Glenn Wells, Chuck Wing, and Roger Yohe, among many others.
The dirt I dug up for you here is part of a huge conspiracy for the betterment of the children of western Placer. If this conspiracy is allowed to continue, a priceless community treasure and some quality agricultural land will be preserved for all time!
Seriously, we are thankful for the foresight, diligence, generous dedication of time and energy of everyone working to preserve the Lincoln High School Farm. Thank you!
Eye on the American River Canyon
By Mehrey Vaghti
Personally, the solace of the American River canyons is what drew me to Auburn, just as the beauty of Placer County has drawn many of us here over the years. Fifteen minutes on the trail into the American River’s many majestic canyons can offer qualities usually reserved for deep wilderness, though urban realities are less than a mile away.
These natural corridors provide habitat for a rich assemblage of vegetation and wildlife. Deep douglas fir forests, blue oak woodlands, cascading streams, swaths of spring wildflowers, and riparian stringers support bobcat, mountain lion, black bear, bald eagle, osprey, redshouldered hawk, newt, scaup, merganser, acorn woodpecker, and monarch butterfly … to name but a few. One can wander the canyons for miles with no visible trace of human endeavor.
Placer Land Trust is dedicated to protecting open space lands in and along the American River canyons, to buffer wildlife habitat and maintain a natural aesthetic. Four existing properties preserved by the Trust – and current projects to protect over 650 additional acres – provide permanent protection along the canyon rim and river bottom. These lands span a wide geographic range, from Oregon Bar near Auburn to Lover’s Leap near Gold Run, and include a wide diversity of vegetation and wildlife.
I invite you to discover the natural landscapes of the American River Canyon, from the Trust’s preserved properties in the Auburn area to our next focus area, the North Fork American River Wild & Scenic Area near Dutch Flat. For more details about the Trust’s American River properties, call us at the new office: (530) 887-9222. Enjoy!
Placer Land Trust’s Work in the American River Watershed
This map shows the portion of the North & Middle Fork American River watershed between Interstate 80 (from the Auburn area to Blue Canyon) to the Placer/El Dorado County line.
Placer Land Trust’s projects are above and along the North Fork American River.
The dark gray shading at right indicates the Tahoe and El Dorado National Forests, and the light gray shading indicates other public land (North Fork American River Wild & Scenic River Area, Auburn State Recreation Area, etc.).
Placer Land Trust is working with the American River Conservancy, the Bureau of Land Management, and Emigrant Trails Greenway Trust on the Giant Gap Project, which would preserve 630 acres of natural lands within the North Fork American River Wild & Scenic Area near Dutch Flat.
For details about this project or the Trust’s four existing preserves, call us at (530) 887-9222.
Placer Land Trust Funding
by Patricia Callan-McKinney (final part of a series)
Program or Project Funds These funds are made up of an accumulation of grants, donations and/or fundraising proceeds designated to be spent on these Board approved projects only. The following is a list of existing funds: Acquisition, Stewardship, American River Property, Stagecoach Preserve, Bear River Project, Canyon Creek and Canyon View Preserve.
Endowments An endowment is a permanent fund where the original donation or principal amount cannot be withdrawn and is meant to provide interest as ongoing income. It is critical that an endowment continues to grow to assure the future of the Trust. A gift to an endowment is perpetual and keeps on giving!
Easement Endowments Each easement held by Placer Land Trust must have an endowment to cover monitoring and enforcement costs in perpetuity. The original endowment may be added to but never decreased.
PLACER LAND TRUST PERPETUAL ENDOWMENT In 1999, the Board established this important fund. Interest earned from the endowment is to be used for general operating expenses and at the time the endowment was established, it was decided that 10% of all major unrestricted donations and fundraising proceeds would go to fund the endowment.
With your continued financial support, Placer Land Trust will be able to continue to do the good work of preserving our heritage of open space and farming. Please be sure to renew your membership and to support your events.
to support your events. If you have questions about PLT’s finances, call. The books are open.
Executive Director’s Report
Short on Cash?
You’re not alone if the economy has got you down. Across the nation, nonprofits and other organizations depending on community and philanthropic support are suffering. The effect is felt even here in Placer County – the county with the largest job growth in the nation, and the fastest population growth in California.
Most of us are looking for ways to cut costs in the face of low interest rates and a long economic slump. Hopefully you’ve kept your annual Placer Land Trust membership current! Even if you’ve needed to reduce your cash donation level, there are other ways to support the Trust. I’d like to offer you some examples of ways to support the Trust that don’t require the use of your checkbook.
Members Graeme & Debra Plant donated stock, and Hewlett-Packard employees Jim Haagen-Smit, Gregg Okunami and Steve Robertson donated HP equipment. Mara Bresnick and Marcie Rosenzweig donated office furniture. Ron & Sharon Bettencourt donated a conservation easement. “Noncash” donations such as these help the Trust immensely, and may be tax deductible.
Bob Cooley-Gilliom is donating his 2000 Toyota Avalon XLS. As with many noncash donations, the Trust will sell Bob’s car to generate operating funds. Call us at 530-887-9222 if you’re interested; the car is almost new and we’re offering PLT members first dibs to purchase at the trade-in value — less than retail!
You can also check with your employer to see if they offer the option of automatically donating to Placer Land Trust directly from your paycheck (rather than having to write a check). Ask your employer if they’re a member of EarthShare of California (if so, select “Placer Land Trust” as the nonprofit you support), and ask your employer to match your gift to Placer Land Trust.
So if the economy has you short on cash, I hope you’ll consider other ways of supporting Placer Land Trust. Give us a call to inquire about our wish list … and thanks!