The Northern Sierra Partnership has acquired 2,914 acres of wilderness land for $14 million from a collection of private landowners just north of Lake Tahoe. This acquisition has been years in the making, as the group has acquired almost 100,000 acres of land for $78 million throughout Northern California since 2007.
- Related: Tahoe Fund Meets Campaign Goal For Lily Lake Trail Thanks to Triple Funding Match by Vail Resorts
The Northern Sierra Partnership is a coalition of land conservation agencies that include the Nature Conservancy, the Sierra Business Council, the Feather River Land Trust, Truckee Donner Land Trust and Trust for Public Land. Their goal is to connect wilderness land in order to preserve it for public use, restore natural habitats, promote sustainable tourism and education, and support local communities.
“This is a very beautiful forested area that is rich in wildlife. But it has fragmented for years into different ownerships – timber companies, private owner, and others. We’ve been trying to conserve it as a connected natural landscape.”
– Lucy Blake, President of the Northern Sierra Partnership
Much of the land around Donner Pass, just northwest of Truckee, CA, is a crosshatch pattern of public and private land ownership. In the 1860s, in order to promote the construction of transcontinental railways, every other square mile within 20 miles on either side of Donner Summit was given to railroad companies. Over the years, these land interests have been acquired mainly by timber companies, along with land conservation, both the federal and state governments, and public/private individuals among others.
“People tend to take for granted these open spaces. You drive along I-80 over Donner Summit and look out your window, and most people just assume that it’s all public protected land that’s going to be there forever and they don’t have to worry about it.” – Greyson Howard, Spokesman of the Truckee Donner Land Trust
The wilderness land recently acquired by Northern Sierra Partnership is simply breathtaking. The notable areas include high alpine Frog Lake, Red Mountain, and Carpenter Ridge. The Northern Sierra Partnership hopes to eventually connect Frog Lake to another piece of recently acquired land named Independence Lake via a 15-mile trail through the newly acquired areas as well.
I may be biased as a frequent visitor of Lake Tahoe, but the natural beauty and landscape of the surrounding areas is truly something else. This sounds like a win in my book for the future of public wilderness access in the area, and I can’t wait to check it out in the near future.