PLT Acquires Aeolia Preserve 7.5-acre property contains important local history and habitat
By Fred Yeager
As a holiday gift to us all, Placer Land Trust happily announces the acquisition and protection of the 7.5-acre “Aeolia Preserve” in Auburn. The Aeolia Preserve contains portions of the historic Aeolia Heights olive orchards, beautiful views of the American River Canyon, and scenic open space for wildlife and people alike.
This property also contains a link to our past. When longtime Auburn resident Paul Chamberlain Sr. passed away in 2010, many in Placer County took the opportunity to reflect on his legacy.
Mr. Chamberlain was descendant of emigrant pioneers who came to Placer County in the 1850s. As a prominent local attorney, a WWII veteran, and a patron of local charities including the Boy Scouts and the restoration of the Placer County Courthouse, his life touched many.
As a pioneering family, the Chamberlains also owned significant property in Placer County, and their multi-generational care of their lands reminds us that we should all be good stewards of the natural wonders around us. PLT’s vernal pool preserves north of Lincoln sit near the site of the historic Chamberlain Ranch, established in 1850 by Paul Chamberlain’s ancestors, emigrants from the midwest. And in 2010, PLT heard from neighbors how important another Chamberlain property has been to the Placer County community.
“We got a few phone calls about this 7.5-acre Auburn property on the rim of the American River Canyon in the historic Aeolia Heights neighborhood,” says PLT Executive Director Jeff Darlington. “It turns out that the Chamberlain family has been letting the neighborhood use a scenic trail on the property for decades. Several of the neighbors encouraged PLT to look into permanently protecting the property and the trail to continue this legacy.”
The Auburn property was to be put on the market through the estate process, but with the generous support of the Emigrant Trails Greenway Trust and the Chamberlain family, PLT was able to acquire the property.
PLT is currently seeking funding to build its stewardship fund for Aeolia Preserve, including trail management and fuel load reduction projects. To help PLT take care of the property, the Chamberlain family is making an initial donation to encourage community support of PLT’s efforts. To contribute to PLT’s stewardship fund, please donate via www.placerlandtrust.org or send a check to PLT at the address on this newsletter.
PLT hopes to raise the necessary stewardship funding by Spring 2014 and anticipates opening the trail to the public at that time, fittingly to be named the “Chamberlain Trail” in memory of Paul Chamberlain Sr.
Jessica Daugherty Honored by
By Gregg McKenzie
Our own Jessica Daugherty was one of the top 100 finalists for The Sacramento Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 Award.
This annual award honors 40 individuals under 40 years old in the four-county Sacramento region, who are excelling in their professional fields. Jessica was selected out of a field of over 300 nominees.
Jessica is the Assistant Director for Placer Land Trust and over the past eight years has helped bring more than $20 million in assets to acquire over 7,500 acres of land, as well as manage, restore, and improve that land for public benefit.
“Jessica is critical to Placer Land Trust’s success and is an emerging leader in the land conservation industry” stated Jeff Darlington, Placer Land Trust’s Executive Director.
Jessica holds a B.A. in Geography from Humboldt State University and spent her career in the natural resource management/land use planning field working on improving the health and viability of California, the Sierra Nevada, and the greater Sacramento region.
Since 2007 Jessica has served as a stakeholder on the Biological Working Group for the creation and implementation of the Placer County Conservation Plan. She is also a board member for the Pacific Forest and Watershed Lands Stewardship Council which is responsible for the equitable transfer and protection of 140,000 acres of Pacific Gas & Electric lands throughout California. Most recently Jessica has been selected to serve on the Action Team for the California Stewardship Network and represented her team at the 2013 California Economic Summit in Los Angeles in November.
“I was honored to even be nominated and represent Placer Land Trust in this capacity. It makes me very proud that our great work is considered valuable and on equal footing as all other industries in the Sacramento region,” Said Jessica. Jessica lives on a remote property in the forest of Georgetown with her husband Josh and their son Wyatt
Connecting the next generation of Land Lovers
By Karrie Thomas
This year’s Placer Conservator Award Ceremony & Dinner honored the young men of Boy Scout Troop 121 in Granite Bay on November 2nd. We celebrated four years of joint field work and the boys commitment through resource conservation.
Working with the Scouts has inspired Placer Land Trust to put more thought into the “future generations” part of our mission. Proceeds from the event will ensure that we can continue to work with these Scouts and other regional youth groups in years to come.
We’re off to a running start! In November and December Swainson’s Grassland Preserve and Doty Ravine Preserve buzzed with the excitement of kids from Loomis Basin Charter School.First, 40 7th and 8th graders spent a day collecting acorns from Doty. Then on a frosty day in early December, 100 6th & 7th graders planted the acorns and over 400 willow stakes at Swainson’s.
One of the 6th grade girls shared her thoughts on the field trip, “Today was really fun! It helps the environment, keeps the air fresh, helps the dirt and soil and the animals…it would be cool to come back in 20 years and say hey, I planted that tree, kind of like a memory builder.”
AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) facilitated both projects. The NCCC is a residential, team-based, national service program that engages young adults ages 18-24 in full-time service programs. The students from Loomis Basin Charter School worked side-by-side with the young adults in a cooperative effort that will benefit all youth of tomorrow.
We are looking forward to finding new ways to share our wealth of land. Please spread the word to youth organizations that would benefit from playing, growing and learning in the natural wonders of Placer County. Contact our office at 530-887-9222.
Great Sierra River Cleanup! The Results are in!!
By Janet Voris
Sixty five volunteers joined us for the Great Sierra River Cleanup on September 21, 2013 to pick up trash along the Miner’s Ravine Trail in Roseville. Together, we removed over 600 pounds of trash and recyclables. Thank you volunteers!
The Great Sierra River Cleanup is a volunteer event focused on removing trash and restoring the health of waterways throughout the Sierra Nevada Region. This cleanup is an annual event coordinated by the Sierra Nevada Conservancy and held in conjunction with California Coastal Cleanup Day.
Small Farm Heritage Bus Tour
By Janet Voris
Our first ever bus tour event was a smashing hit! Nearly 30 people joined us on October 19 as we toured the Natural Trading Company, our Doty Ravine Preserve, and ended with lunch and a tour of Rancho Roble Vineyard.
We had a diverse lineup of speakers at each location; our guests learned about organic farming, some history of farming in the Lincoln area, a little info on bee keeping, and how to make wine. Special thanks to our speakers Bryan Kaminsky with the Natural Trading Company, Rich Ferreira with Side Hill Citrus, Lindy Grey with the Fruitvale Hall Association, Jason Miller from Miller Honey Farms, Barbara Vineyard with the Placer County Cemetery District, and Mark Adams at Rancho Roble Vineyard.
Many of you asked if we will be doing this again, and yes we will! If you missed the fi rst one, check out our calendar of events for our “Horseless Carriage” series. We hope you can join us.
Stewardship Council: Process to Protect
Selected PG&E Lands Moves Forward
By Jessica Daugherty
In 2010 Placer Land Trust began participating in a new opportunity to protect important stretches of land in the Placer County foothills and the Sierra Nevada: thousands of acres that can close gaps in the “checkerboard” pattern of public and private ownership in that area.
The Pacific Forest and Watershed Lands Stewardship Council (Stewardship Council) is a private, nonprofit foundation established in 2004 as a result of a Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) bankruptcy reorganization settlement. Part of its mission is to ensure that over 140,000 acres of California’s pristine watershed lands are conserved for the public good through its Land Conservation Program.
Placer Land Trust has been approved to become the Conservation Easement holder on several properties available for divestment north of I-80 between Auburn and Alta, and we have applied to hold easements as far east as Serene Lakes. Placer County and Auburn Recreation District (ARD) are local partners on three of the most current projects.
Placer County has applied to be the fee title holder of 15 acres adjacent to the Bear River Campground, which they currently manage. PLT would be the easement holder and continue a great partnership with Placer County.
ARD hopes to hold fee title on two potential projects. The first is a 20-acre property including an existing ball field and park in Christian Valley, which ARD currently leases from PG&E. The second property is25 acres along Bell Road and New Airport road where ARD proposes to build a passive recreational park. PLT would hold a conservation easement on both.
PLT continues to work with partners including the Stewardship Council and PG&E on these unique opportunities in the coming months. “This is a new process for the land trust community. These are complex and atypical transactions because of the settlement agreements tied to them,” Explains Jeff Darlington, Executive Director. “However, it is exciting to build relationships with all of the project partners and work towards protecting and enhancing the beneficial public values on these lands, including recreation,” summarizes Jeff Darlington, Executive Director.
Stay tuned for details of these exciting projects moving forward in 2014 and 2015!
Placer Land Trust Represented at
2013 CA Economic Summit
By Jeff Darlington
Assistant Director Jessica Daugherty represented the land trust community at the 2013 California Economic Summit. Held in Los Angeles on November 7-8, this was the second annual gathering of leaders focused on working together to put California’s economy on a sustainable path for growth. The results of the summit represent the work of seven action teams and 16 regional forums.
Working landscapes were a new priority for the Summit this year. Jessica was selected to work on this Action Team and share information on Placer Land Trust’s work in the market place. This includes investigating oak woodland carbon sequestration, mitigation, grazing, and pollinators among other things.
Summit participants concluded that two strategies will result in immediate job creation and long-term competitiveness for California. The first; invest in people, infrastructure, and innovation in creative ways to prepare the state and our regions to compete in the 21st century global economy. The second; streamline our complex regulatory processes to reduce cost of doing business while maintaining our environmental standards.
Over 450 business, labor, government and nonprofit leaders attended from across the state. The goal was to build an integrated economic vitality strategy for California bringing together diverse sectors in advancing manufacturing, capital, housing, infrastructure, regulations, workforce and working landscapes.
“It was an incredible opportunity that we in the conservation community don’t often get: to have big picture discussions and forge relationships with people throughout the State doing wonderful work in other very important sectors. It was powerful to realize that all of us in the room make an impact through our work, and we all have commonalities that, when we work together, can contribute to the greater good,” stated Jessica.
Several valuable ideas emerged from the Summit including the value of a new kind of coalition, political opportunity and creativity in policy making. An example of how working landscapes fits into this opportunity came through in a quote from the Summit’s honorary co-chairs George Shultz and Leon Panetta stating: “we believe this profoundly new approach, giving Californians a way to cure California’s ills, is the best way to accelerate the economic recovery – and the only way to provide enduring stewardship of the state’s diverse communities and its unrivalled natural resources.”
Jessica will continue to participate over 2014 on the Working Landscapes Action Team and bring forward specific commitments and actions to support the Summit’s Action Plan.
To learn more about the effort and learn how to participate, visit http://www.caeconomy.org/summit.
Partner Spotlight RCH Group
By Karrie Thomas
Like many of our Placer Partners, RCH Group in Roseville supports Placer Land Trust because it’s the right thing to do for the region.
RCH Group is a real estate development consulting firm with a commitment to providing cost-effective, practical, and complete solutions for a variety of development projects. They provide land planning, entitlement and environmental consulting services for private and public sector clients including churches, golf courses, residential communities and country fairs.
RCH Managing Principal Dave Cook pointed out that while it might seem like a contradiction for a real estate consulting firm to support a land trust, “at the end of the day, we do our best to help create projects that make a positive contribution. From the 30,000 foot view, for a residential development you don’t sell a house until you first sell the community.”
Dave came to Placer County for the rivers, the skiing and backpacking (and more recently golf). He is an Eagle Scout who has always loved the wilderness, and he strongly believes in Placer Land Trust’s mission to protect open space for future generations. “I don’t want Placer County to look like the Bay Area or LA,” he says.
As a real estate consulting firm, RCH Group appreciates Placer Land Trust’s approach to protecting our natural wonders. They believe that the improved quality of life provided by open space is good for everyone’s business.
Dave serves on Placer Land Trust’s Community Council.
A Force in Placer County Conservation
By Karrie Thomas
Last Summer Charlene Daniels paid us a visit to talk about our work in the North Fork American River watershed. Through the course of her visit she introduced
me to the life and inspiration of Gene Markley.
Gene was the force in the Placer Conservation Force, which Charlene was a part of. This group of Placer County land lovers was behind many efforts to conserve our natural wonders. They were part of protecting the Granite Chief Wilderness and designating the North Fork as Wild & Scenic.
Markley, a native of Wisconsin, came west because he loved the mountains. He was deeply influenced by the Native American culture and the U.S. Marine Corp.
He was a lifelong member of the Placer County Historical Society. He pioneered gorge scrambling for the Sierra Club in the late 60s and early 70’s. His greatest contribution may have been his classes at the Placer Adult School.
According to Michael Otten, President Placer County Historical Society, “for more than a half century he kindled a passion among legions of followers through his Sierra Club outings and 37 years of popular Placer Adult School Gold Camps, wilderness skiing, snowshoeing and other outdoor adventure outings.”
Charlene first met Gene as one of those students. “He has a strong reverence for preserving our natural landscape and especially wanted to create a special mindset for his students. For instance, he felt the use of electronic devices on his outings greatly diminished the wilderness experience,” she noted.
By all accounts, he is a mountain man that was born 100 years too late.
Gene suffered a stroke not long ago and returned to Wisconsin where he is being cared for by his family. For the people whose lives he touched here in California, he instilled an ethic of stewardship and conservation that shapes their lives every day.
The Placer Conservation Force made a generous donation to Placer Land Trust to support our work to protect and steward the North Fork American River. We are honored, and grateful to Gene, who we never met, for helping inspire a new generation of people to care for our natural wonders.
National Charities League, South Placer Chapter
By Sarah Darney
For the past two years, Placer Land Trust has benefi tted from the service of the South Placer Chapter of the National Charities League (NCL). NCL is a philanthropic organization that fosters mother-daughter relationships through community service, leadership development and cultural experiences. Their vision is to develop strong women leaders serving and impacting communities today and for generations to come.
In 2013 they provided volunteer support for at least seven major Placer Land Trust events and over 300 hours of volunteer time.
“They help fi ll a niche in our volunteer program that our regular volunteer base often can’t cover, explains Janet Voris, Program Manager and Volunteer Coordinator. “It’s fantastic to have their help and to see teenage girls working side by side with their moms, especially for community service projects.” We look forward to continuing this relationship into 2014 and beyond.