Invitation to the new conservancy |

Invitation to the new conservancy

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is expected to come to the foothills today for a ceremonial signing of the bill creating a Sierra Nevada Conservancy, and what better time to point out that Nevada County is the ideal location for the conservancy’s headquarters.

The governor’s office was keeping details close to the vest on Wednesday, but the word is that the signing will take place this morning along the Bear River, which is the border between Placer and Nevada counties.

The Auburn Journal has made its pitch that its town should be the home for the conservancy, created to provide coordination of conservation initiatives from the Oregon border on the north to Bakersfield in the south, encompassing all or part of 23 counties. But we beg to differ. As pleasant a town as Auburn is, it’s rapidly losing its mountain character and becoming a Sacramento suburb.

Nevada County, with its twin cities of Grass Valley and Nevada City, has been the historical and commercial center of California’s northern gold country for 150 years and remains the perfect intersection of wild and tamed lands. It stretches east to west over the crest of the Sierra, yet it’s close to the decision-making centers of Sacramento.

Nevada City was the first town to endorse the Sierra Conservancy; Nevada County sent the most representatives to the Capitol to lobby for it. What better place for an agency that will shape the future of our mountains than Nevada County? Certainly not Bakersfield or Yreka.

Nevada County also is a gathering point for conservation groups, timber companies and forestry agencies. When you add the possibility that the conservancy eventually may employ as many as 50 people, you have a compelling reason for the county’s public officials to make their interest known – perhaps starting today at the bill-signing.

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