Bear Yuba Land Trust increases its acreage under protection | TheUnion.com

Bear Yuba Land Trust increases its acreage under protection

Jesse Locks
Special to The Union
The Bear Yuba Land Trust now protects an additional 372 acres in Nevada County through conservation easements.
Submitted by the Bear Yuba Land Trust

The Bear Yuba Land Trust has permanently protected an additional 372 acres in Nevada County, including 331 acres on Banner Mountain in Nevada City, and 41 acres at White Rock Lake near Jackson Meadows Reservoir.

At nearly 8,000 feet, White Rock Lake is BYLT’s highest elevation property. A popular lake among hikers, campers and anglers, White Rock Lake is located just below Mount Lola in the South Yuba headwaters. This conservation easement ensures the land around White Rock Lake is never developed and its public uses, such as camping and hiking, are forever protected.

Now a working forest conservation easement, the Deer Creek Forest Reserve stretches from the headwaters of Little Deer Creek on Banner Mountain down toward Red Dog Road. BYLT has also received a trail easement along the Cascade Canal and D-S Canal that winds through this property, securing nearly two miles of additional trails that are forever open for public access.

“These two conservation easements are shining examples of BYLT’s commitment to protecting critical lands in the Bear and Yuba river watersheds,” said Erin Tarr, BYLT’s co-executive director. “But protection of the land is just the first step. Because of the conservation easements, these forests will be managed in perpetuity, which is absolutely critical to ongoing efforts of fire safety in Nevada County. Deer Creek Forest Reserve is a large 331-acre parcel situated within a highly-populated area of Nevada City and protection and restoration of this land will help to reduce fire risk and enhance wildlife habitat. The added trail easements ensure the public has access to these areas forever. These multiple benefits show our commitment to creating a healthy community. It’s a win-win for everyone — the landowner, the community, the plants and the animals.”

Improvements

BYLT already has plans for several improvements for the Deer Creek Forest Reserve. It has partnered with the landowner to submit a grant to the Sierra Nevada Conservancy for fuel reduction and forest health projects. The landowner is also seeking additional grants through Cal Fire. These projects would benefit the neighborhood and the region by providing significant fire resilience benefits.

A section of the popular Cascade Canal runs through the Deer Creek Forest Reserve. BYLT has plans to improve signage and parking areas to further enhance the trail user experience in 2020. This area is known for its rich biodiversity, including the Pileated woodpecker. Pileated woodpeckers are the largest of the common woodpeckers found in most of North America. These crow-sized birds present a memorable sight with their zebra-striped heads and necks, long bills, and distinctive red crests. They are forest birds that favor mature deciduous or mixed deciduous-coniferous forest, but require large, standing dead trees and downed wood.

A conservation easement is a voluntary legal agreement between a landowner and a qualified organization, such as a land trust, that limits certain uses of the land — like large scale subdivisions — in order to conserve the natural and traditional values of the land. Landowners grant conservation easements to protect the resources of their property while retaining the rights of private ownership. Landowners protect their land for many reasons. Common reasons include: helping pass the family land to future generations and family members, gaining peace of mind that the land’s special features will be protected forever, and potential financial benefits.

Since 1990, BYLT has protected more than 15,000 acres of Sierra Nevada and foothill forests, oak woodlands, meadows, riparian habitat, farms and ranches. These new conservation easements represent a long-term commitment and investment in the overall health of our community. To learn more about BYLT’s community conservation and resilience efforts, visit http://www.BYLT.org.

Source: Bear Yuba Land Trust


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