Friends of Independence Lake, Inc. is asking the Sierra County Board of Supervisors to review new information as evidence that Independence Lake Road is a Sierra County road that travels to Independence Lake, touching the lake’s shore and high-water mark at multiple points.
Therefore, property owners surrounding the lake are prohibited from maintaining any gates that deny public free access to the lake.
This issue has been placed on the agenda for the Sierra County Board of Supervisors meeting to take place on July 16 in Loyalton.
The public has had access to Independence Lake, a California navigable waterway, since the mid-1800s, using the lake for recreation including hunting, fishing, boating and swimming.
Since The Nature Conservancy purchased the land surrounding the lake (and NOT the lake) in 2009, the public has had severely restricted access to the lake.
The Nature Conservancy initially stopped all motorized boats from entering the lake and only allowed nonmotorized boats and rafts.
This nonprofit used the public’s money for the purchase of the land and placed a gate at the entrance to the lake. Currently, The Nature Conservancy is not allowing any outside boats to the lake and has a small fleet of kayaks and motorized boats which are allowed on the lake every other week.
After hiring a GIS (Global Information System) expert to map the Sierra County roads, Friends of Independence Lake has found there is overwhelming proof that The Nature Conservancy has placed an illegal gate on a public road. Please attend the meeting on July 16 at the Social Hall in Loyalton to support our efforts to claim a public road to a navigable water. The Loyalton Social Hall is located at 105 Beckwith Road, Loyalton, CA, 96118.
You can view the agenda at www.sierracounty.ca.gov to see when the meeting is scheduled. The meeting starts at 9 a.m. and our issue will be in a timed morning slot.
Julie Osburn is director of the Friends of Independence Lake, Inc. in Loyalton.