Our 2,500 square mile watershed is an enormously diverse landscape, spanning 9,000 feet in elevation at the Sierra crest dropping to the Sacramento Valley floor 80 miles west. Biodiversity here is more complex and more numerous than almost any other place on the planet.
Over the past five years, the Bear and Yuba Watersheds have captured my heart and soul. From the vast oak woodlands of Wild Rock Ranch and Garden Bar Preserve in southern Nevada County to the breathtaking vistas of Fordyce Lake and Upper Rock Lake in the high Sierra Nevada mountains, the fact is, we live in an amazing place.
It might sound odd – but a local trail changed my life! Shortly after moving to Nevada County I hiked the Humbug Trail at Malakoff Diggins State Park. Along the way I met another nature lover doing a point-to-point hike who needed a ride to his car. He was John Skinner, retired Tahoe National Forest Service Supervisor. John became my hiking mentor and later introduced me to the Land Trust.
I never thought “connecting kids with nature” would be a thing. Nature to the “child me” was like air. It was all around me. Even when my family lived in a suburban community I could always find a ditch to explore or a tree to climb. I guess this is why I have a hard time realizing that kids today need a program to get outside, to play, to explore, to be in nature.
Today rain is the talk of the office. Our Lands staff can’t get outside to continue planting the new pollinator garden at Adam Ryan Preserve. Our Trails staff can’t continue roughing in a new trail to South Wolf Creek at Clover Valley Preserve. The normally docile, tiny creek is now a raging torrent. So we all spent time indoors addressing long awaited things like mapping projects and reporting on grants.
This issue of Land News focuses on 25 years of land conservation progress in our community. It happens because key individuals took the initiative to make something good happen here. In the coming months BYLT’s board of directors is beginning to write the next five-year strategic plan.
In Nevada County, there are no county parks or a recreation department though city districts provide managed and group recreation amenities such as ball fields and swimming pools. In Yuba County the parks function has been defunded. Community support and volunteer efforts are vital in the development and maintenance of trails. This issue of Land News is dedicated to local trail projects, efforts and opportunities.
Environmental educators say there is a growing disparity between the time kids spend indoors using a computer, watching TV, or playing video games, and the unstructured time they spend outside enjoying nature. If they go outside at all, it tends to be in organized, group sports activities. Only about 10 percent say they are spending free time outdoors every day, according to a new nationwide poll led by The Nature Conservancy. A lack of access to and interest in nature keeps kids from experiencing the outdoors, the poll revealed.