South Yuba land transaction posed for closure |

South Yuba land transaction posed for closure

A once-controversial chunk of South Yuba River real estate moved one step closer Thursday to being sold to the public.

The San Francisco office of Trust for Public Land announced it had purchased 731 acres of forest land in the river canyon from California’s largest timber company, Sierra Pacific Industries, for full market value: $3.56 million.

The land trust plans to sell the land for that amount to South Yuba River State Park. The state will buy the land mainly using funding from Proposition 40, the $2.6 billion parks bond that voters approved in the spring.

SPI will use the $3.56 million it earned to buy productive timberland elsewhere.

The South Yuba River acreage, which is in several parcels on the south side of the river roughly across from Malakoff Diggins, had been slated about three years ago for timber harvest, including 171 acres of clear-cuts.

But environmentalists caught wind of the proposed harvest and protested. That resulted in an agreement by SPI to wait on logging and pursue a potential land exchange with the U.S. Forest Service or the Bureau of Land Management.

The agreement expired in December 2000, but SPI did not log the land.

All parties involved had good things to say about the sale in a statement issued by Trust for Public Land.

“We are grateful to SPI for selling this extraordinary property to us for future public use and enjoyment. We now need to raise the public and private funding necessary to complete the transaction and expand the South Yuba River State Park,” said David Sutton, TPL’s director of the Sierra Nevada Program.

A.A. “Red” Emmerson, president of SPI, said “This is something important to both of us and results in long-term benefits for all Californians.”

Michael Killigrew, president of South Yuba River Citizens League, said, “We are pleased that SPI has been so responsive and willing to work with the community and the Trust for Public Land to protect this stretch of the river which is loved and enjoyed by so many people.”

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