I work with Bear Yuba Land Trust and I do my best to make sure all the work I do falls within our mission. Our Mission is to Save Land, Build Trails and Encounter Nature. This clear, concise group of words is simple and easy to follow. It is the epitome of a great mission because it betters us as individuals and as a community. Once you dissect it into pieces it is quite a lofty goal. Three simple charges that encompass an enormous amount of scientific fields and expertise. I work on expanding our trails department so it can continue to thrive. That is more than enough to keep me busy. Other folks with a different set of skills and knowledge work on accomplishing the other two thirds.
I always recite the mission when I am leading a volunteer group or speaking at an event because it is important for people to know what the Land Trust does. I also know about trail easements and how they go onto the deed for the parcel and live there forever. I also know that the land we save is in the time frame of, well… forever. I knew this intellectually but it took a special moment for this to really sink in.
We recently acquired a large parcel know as Rice’s Crossing and I am tasked with the charge of developing trails on it. It is more than 2,700 acres and covers 6 miles of the Yuba River between Bullard’s Bar Reservoir and Englebright. We have built two and a quarter miles of trail so far with much more to come. Accessibility to this large parcel has been a challenge and I have started to hike out there quite a bit. This is not your garden variety type of hiking. I am talking bush whacking. This is when poison oak is slapping you in the face and blackberry vines are constantly clinging to your skin and clothes. Machetes and loppers are a must. This is the kind of work where a beer afterwards is not a question but a fact.
The Universe rewarded me with a life changing realization for all my tiresome work. I was scouting a possible location for a trail and came across a steep river canyon. The view was breathtaking and serene. I saw this beautiful mature forest full of beautiful trees and birds flying overhead. I thought, “Wow, this is beautiful!”
Then it dawned on me that because of the work the Land Trust is doing this ecosystem will never be damaged. This parcel will stay whole, intact and healthy. It will never be bulldozed and scarred. It won’t be poisoned or used to propel another capitalist’s agenda. I thought, “All this will be saved.” Then I realized that when we say in our mission to Save Land, this is what we mean. I never really got it before this experience and since then I have been bowled over by the great work BYLT does. I am honored to be part of a team that is conserving habitat and open space for all of our four legged, two legged, scaled and winged friends.