6/28/2010--Most recently, working with the Trust for Public Land, the group scooped up more than 4,000 acres (with plans for 7,000 acres) in conservation easements on Sierra Pacific Industries' land north of Truckee, the first-such conservation deal ever brokered with the lumber company.
“This is not just the conservation and protection of over 7,500 acres in the Little Truckee Watershed — we have consummated a conservation transaction with the largest private land owner in California,” said Perry Norris, executive director of the Truckee Donner Land Trust. “That's precedent setting.”
The private property runs in a checker pattern of public (U.S. Forest Service) and private land along the historic Henness Pass Road, running from west of Highway 89 north to the hills around Jackson Meadows Reservoir.
The easements prevent clear-cutting and the use of herbicides, still allows some timber harvest and opens the Sierra Pacific Industry land to the public and allow trail building, said John Svahn, stewardship director with the land trust.
And it was possible with $1.83 million from the Northern Sierra Partnership and $6.42 million from the Wildlife Conservation Board, Norris said.
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The Truckee Donner Land Trust is in the business of conserving open space, and business is good. The down economy that has many other non-profits cutting back and bunkering down has created unique land acquisition opportunities for the group founded in 1990 in the Sierra Nevada north of Lake Tahoe. Most recently, working with the Trust for Public Land, the group scooped up more than 4,000 acres in conservation easements on Sierra Pacific Industries' land north of Truckee -- the first-such conservation deal ever brokered with the timber company.
Plans call for the addition of another 3,000 acres as part of the package that primarily straddles watersheds for the Little Truckee River and the Yuba River. It includes sections of the Pacific Crest Trail on its way from Mexico to Canada....
The private property runs in a checkerboard pattern of national forest land and private land along the historic Henness Pass Road, running from west of California 89 north to the hills around Jackson Meadows Reservoir. The easements prevent clear-cutting and the use of herbicides while still allowing some logging and opening the nearly 12 square miles of land to public access and potentially new trail construction, said John Svahn, stewardship director with the land trust.
...Norris said the first-ever conservation easement with Sierra Pacific Industries also possibly prevents serious development in the forests north of Truckee.
"This is the same 7,500 acres SPI was petitioning Sierra County to take out of timber production zone and put into general forestry, which means it could have been subdivided into 160-acre ranchettes," Norris said.
...He said Sierra Pacific Industries has transferred more than 100,000 acres to public ownership in the past, but compared to an outright sale or transfer, the conservation easements along Henness Pass mean SPI can continue to harvest wood for mills in the area, keeping jobs in the northern Sierra...