PLT Acquires 80 acres of Oak Woodlands
Hilltop property in Bear River watershed to be named after Skip Outman
By Jessica Daugherty
Placer Land Trust recently acquired 80 acres of oak woodlands in the Big Hill area northwest of Auburn, coming one step closer to linking the 1,181-acre Hidden Falls Regional Park to thousands of other acres of PLT-protected land in the area.
“We’re very pleased to have worked with the landowners on a bargain sale of this beautiful land,” said PLT Executive Director Jeff Darlington. “This property expands
the protected landscape in the Bear River watershed, and it’s also another piece of the puzzle for our long-term goal of a public trail from Coon Creek to the Bear River.”
The newly acquired property lies directly west of the 321-acre Liberty Ranch Big Hill Preserve, protected by PLT via conservation easement in 2007. PLT has now protected nearly 3,700 acres of oak woodlands and ranch lands in the Big Hill and Garden Bar areas of Placer County. Oak woodlands are iconic of Placer County, and they provide homes for around 330 species of flora and fauna in addition to thousands of insects – one of the highest diversities of species in the world.
PLT is working with Placer County and area landowners to create a wilderness trail system from Hidden Falls Regional Park north through the PLT’s properties on Big Hill and to the Bear River, offering incomparable recreational and scenic values to the community and region.
Placer Land Trust will hold a dedication ceremony on the new property in the coming months, and plans to name the property in honor of Skip Outman, who passed away earlier this year.
“Skip worked tirelessly to help us protect land in this area, including this particular property,” said Darlington. “As much as anything, this beautiful property, which is now protected for current and future generations, is Skip’s legacy.”
Funding for the land acquisition was made possible in large part by grants from the Caltrans Environmental Enhancement & Mitigation Program and from Placer County. The remainder of the project costs – including long-term land stewardship – was funded by PLT membership donations, the California Wildlife Foundation, and the former landowners, Bill & Vera Johnston and John & Lugene Boyd.
PLT members will receive an invitation to the dedication ceremony.
From the Board Room – Gregg McKenzie Joins Placer County Fish and Game Commission
By Jessica Pierce
In July Placer Land Trust Board Treasurer Gregg McKenzie was recommend by Supervisor Jim Holmes and appointed by the Placer County Board of Supervisors to the County’s Fish and Game Commission.
“The role of a Commissioner is to advise Placer County Board of Supervisors on Fish and Game issues within the County” reported Ed King, Deputy Agricultural Commissioner for Placer County.
Gregg is currently Executive Vice President and Partner of Restoration Resources, a habitat planning and restoration services company in Rocklin.
In addition to his service on the Placer Land Trust Board and the Commission, Gregg has served for the past four years as Chair and Commissioner for the City of Rocklin’s Planning Commission. The appointment to the Fish and Game Commission is for a four year term. We look forward to his service.
“As an avid fl y fisherman and waterfowl hunter and advocate for the conservation of the County’s natural resources, I look forward to serving as a Commissioner,” said Gregg.
Art Show in September
The Natural Wonders Forever art show will hang at the Blue Line Gallery in Roseville from August 28th through October 1st.
Plein air artists from all over the region ventured out to Placer Land Trust properties to fi nd inspiration in our preserved landscapes. The Natural Wonders Forever show is a select demonstration of the results.
Join us for the opening reception on Saturday, September 15th. For more information see placerlandtrust.org
Congratulations to Placer Land Trust Community Relations Manager Karrie Thomas and her husband Culley on the birth of their new baby Fischer on June 28th.
Karrie is enjoying some time off to get acquainted with the new addition to the family and will return to work on October 1st.
New Wood Duck Nesting Boxes at Harvego Bear River Preserve
By Grace Harris
My name is Grace Harris, and I am part of Girl Scout Troop 2138 of Granite Bay. Earlier this year we were studying nature, preservation and birds, like the Sandhill Crane. We were asked by an older Girl Scout in our neighborhood to help her build a wood duck nesting box for use on Placer Land Trust (PLT) properties.
In the spring, I contacted Janet Voris at PLT to inquire about other available projects that we might be able to do for them. After several emails, we decided on one that we thought we could do well and then we began researching and planning. The project was building and installing wood duck nesting boxes. We were working on a Bronze award; the highest award available to Junior Girl Scouts (grades 4-5).
We did lots of research about the best design and materials for the nesting boxes as well as the importance of correct placement. We even found websites and YouTube videos on how to build the boxes. We saved all of this information for later.
Next we asked the PLT staff to approve our building plans, materials and select sites for box placement. There was grant money available through PLT for materials, but we decided to try to use as little of it as possible. We sought out vendors for equipment and materials and got almost everything donated!
We had lots of planning meetings and an all day building session. Our two leaders and our dads (and one grandfather) showed us how to cut wood and use power tools safely. We liked knowing as we worked that we were building comfy nests for the wood ducks.
When installation day came at the end of April, all the families came with tools, hats, sunscreen, a picnic lunch and a willingness to help. The Harvego Bear River Preserve to which we were assigned was really beautiful. We all worked and got muddy. My little brother, Andrew Harris, a Cub Scout from Folsom Pack 94 was the champion digger of the day!
We installed seven new wood duck boxes at the preserve in record time, and we were so proud and grateful. We chose a picnic spot near the trucks and sat to eat and admire our work.
But, we weren’t quite done. Part of the requirement for all Girl Scout awards is leaving a legacy. We made a large resource binder for Placer Land Trust that has information about wood ducks, plans, material lists, donor contact information, and all those websites we collected. We hope the information we are leaving for other troops of Boy or Girl Scouts will help them get a quick start on their projects and encourage them to do more.
We earned our Bronze Award and had a celebration meeting with pizza and ice cream. We used this meeting to make thank-you cards and picture plaques for all of the donors and our hard working dads.
We plan to return in spring to see if wood ducks are nesting our boxes. We can hardly wait to see! We also want to continue to help PLT with projects like cleaning out the nesting boxes and trail clean up.
Thank you to: Placer Land Trust staff, Laussman Lumber, Douglas Ranch and Feed, our fearless leaders Deborah Macres and Alison Harris, and our supportive families.
Come Hike With Us – Docent-Led Hikes
By Anita Yoder, volunteer docent
Would you like to see first-hand the great success your support to Placer Land Trust has achieved – or could achieve – in protecting open space in Placer County?
If so, let’s take a hike…
Once a month, trained Placer Land Trust docent volunteers are leading hikes on the Harvego Bear River Preserve and the Big Hill Preserves, properties owned and preserved by Placer Land Trust thanks to individual donors, public or private grants, and willing property owners.
The hikes, which traverse three to four miles of beautiful oak woodlands now protected by the land trust, take place on the second Saturday of each month beginning at 8am in the summer months and 9am the rest of the year. Trails will take you through grasslands, to scenic rocky overlooks, and even past a hilltop view of the Bear River
Pre-registration for the hikes is required; there are typically about a dozen people signed up, including docent guides. This small-group format offers plenty of opportunity for questions, show-and-tell, taking photos and most of all, enjoying the beauty of nature.
Sometimes, with a larger group of hikers, we divide into two smaller groups to better accommodate hikers who prefer to walk more slowly, or participants with special interests, such as Girl Scout troops. The hikes are moderate, with hills in a few spots and some rough terrain.
“The hikes not only expose hikers to the beautiful oak woodlands, savannahs and wetlands surrounding us, but we hope to instill an appreciation for and a motivation to preserve nature, agriculture and wildlife in Placer County,” explained docent Jeri Juergenson.
Docent Andrew Herum noted that someday, publicly-available open space will also provide an opportunity for outdoor recreation beyond hiking.
“The most important part of the hikes is to get the public out on these permanently preserved properties and show them all of the work that PLT is doing in order to create more publicly accessible open space,” Andrew said.
“Anyone in the Placer County area who loves hiking, biking or horseback riding should be very excited about the trail system that is being developed as an extension of the very popular Hidden Falls Regional Park,” explains Andrew. “Right now, these docent-led hikes provide the benefi t of allowing the public a limited preview to portions of this trail system being developed.”
The docent-led hikes are also intended to help the community understand the work being done by Placer Land Trust, and the goals it hopes to achieve in preserving other treasured landscapes.
Docent Susan Kotelnicki offered a quote from Aldo Leopold, who stated: “We abuse land because we see it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.”
Through the hikes, docents and visitors alike have the opportunity to experience recreation, enjoyment, enrichment and the personal satisfaction of visiting the land being preserved for future generations through community support.
Because these preserves are private property, hiking is currently allowed during only scheduled docent hikes. There is no fee to attend the hikes; however, donations are encouraged to help with the docent program.
Placer County Water Agency Helps Placer Land Trust Open Canyon View Preserve to the Public
By Jeff Ward
In April, Placer Land Trust worked with Placer County Water Agency (PCWA) to enhance public access to the Canyon View Preserve by encasing a section of the Boardman Canal. This project allows Placer Land Trust to construct a trailhead for the 1.5 mile interpretive loop trail that is planned for the Preserve.
Placer Land Trust participated financially to extend the encasement across the adjoining property, where we plan to construct the trailhead.
PCWA Director of Field Services Mike Nichol said the cooperative effort will result in safer and more direct access to the soon-to-bepublic trails in the Canyon View Preserve, as well as more efficient operation of the public water system.
The interpretive trail will showcase restoration work completed by Placer Land Trust over the past five years since the property’s protection. It will also provide watershed education and recreation opportunities for the community.
Placer Land Trust anticipates completing the trail project and opening the Canyon View Preserve to the public in the spring of 2013.
We’ve Got Babies!
We spent a year planning and installing burrowing owl nesting tubes at Doty Ravine Preserve and Swainsons Grassland Preserve, and the owls seemed to like them; however, we had not built them strong enough for bovine traffic.
Luckily, the owls knew where to find their natural nests, and we are happy to report that a nest at Swainsons has hatched owlets and the mama is successfully raising them to fledge.
Aaron Rice of Granite Bay Boy Scout Troop 121, dug up and repaired the nest systems and installed concrete to protect the entrances from cows for his Eagle Scout Project!
Thanks to the Burrowing Owl Conservation Network, Defenders of Wildlife and Dennis & Sharon Cavallo for funding this project.
Great Sierra River Cleanup
Miner’s Ravine in Roseville Saturday, September 15th 9am-Noon
Join Placer Land Trust in cleaning up a local watershed! For the fourth consecutive year, Placer Land Trust is participating in the Great Sierra River Cleanup, the premier volunteer event focusing on removing trash and restoring the health of waterways throughout the Sierra Nevada Region.
On Saturday, September 15, from 9am to noon, volunteers will be removing trash along a 5-mile stretch of Miner’s Ravine Bike Trail in Roseville, which includes our Miner’s Ravine Preserve. After the cleanup, volunteers will receive a PlacerGROWN lunch and a chance to win door prizes.
During the first three years of this event, more than 11,200 volunteers have joined together to remove over 526 tons of trash and recyclables from watersheds throughout the Sierra Nevada. This effort, led by the Sierra Nevada Conservancy, and local groups like Placer Land Trust, promotes good stewardship of our waterways from the source to the sea.
We need volunteers and team captains! For more information or to sign up, visit: http://www.placerlandtrust. org/greatsierrarivercleanup. aspx or contact Janet Voris. Pre-registration is recommended. This is a great kid-friendly volunteer opportunity. We hope you can join us!