BYLT secures protection of 857 acres in Grouse Ridge

A new deal between Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) and Bear Yuba Land Trust (BYLT) brings exciting news for outdoor recreationists and lovers of the wild.

Habitat for important mountain species are now permanently protected and some of the most popular non-motorized trails are located on the property.

With the deal, 857-acres of scenic Sierra Nevada landscape within Grouse Ridge Non-Motorized Area of Northern California’s Nevada County will be retained by PG&E with a perpetual conservation easement granted to BYLT.

A landscape worth protecting

With its breathtaking setting of glacier-carved granite and high alpine lakes, the land located within the Grouse Lakes Vehicle Control Area of the Tahoe National Forest is a recreationist’s dream.

“That’s what we used to call our own Desolation Wilderness, right out our back door,” said BYLT’s 2017 President Terry Hundemer.

Lindsey Lakes provides hike-in camping opportunities and an extensive network of non-motorized trails for hiking, mountain biking, and equestrian riding. People can choose from car camping at Lower Lindsey Lake or more primitive walk-in camping sites at Middle Lindsey Lake and Lower and Upper Rock Lakes.

Habitat for special status wildlife

The planning unit lies within the ancestral territory of the Maidu, Washoe, and Nisenan Southern Maidu groups.

As elevation increases, vegetation in this section of the Sierra Nevada transitions from mixed conifer-hardwood forest to a lodgepole pine and fir forest.  Other habitat types include lakes, riparian corridors, wet meadows, fens, and patches of alder and willow. Barren rocky mountain slopes are found throughout the landscape.

The area is a key winter and summer deer range with fawning areas and major migration corridors. Rainbow, brook, and brown trout are found in the many lakes that dot the region.

The landscape offers diverse habitat for special status wildlife such as Sierra Nevada snowshoe hare, Pacific fisher, Sierra marten, California spotted owl and the elusive wolverine.

The Lindsey Lake conservation deal was stipulated as part of PG&E’s bankruptcy settlement in 2003 when the utility company – considered one of the state’s biggest private landowners – agreed to permanently protect the beneficial public values on the watershed lands associated with its hydroelectric generation facilities.

BYLT’s newest conservation easement is one in a series of agreements with PG&E that will allow BYLT to grow from 12,000 to 20,000 acres by 2020, caretaking places like Lindsey Lakes, Grouse Ridge Forest, Lake Spalding, Deer Creek headwaters, Bear Valley and the headwaters of the Bear River, Fordyce Lake, Meadow Lake, Sterling Lake and White Rock Lake.

Community-supported organization, Bear Yuba Land Trust has protected more than 13,000 acres of land from development, has built and maintains more than 30 miles of local trails and provides year-round nature programs such as treks and lectures for people of all ages and backgrounds.