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Preserves - Owned and Managed by BYLT

Adam Ryan Preserve

37 Acres, Established 1999. Public access allowed. A beautiful meadow and forest landscape, Adam Ryan Wildlife Preserve is located along Dog Bar Road and Alta Sierra Drive near Mathis Pond, another public-access preserve owned by BYLT. The preserve provides a low-impact trail and natural habitat for area wildlife.

c’oom pe Preserve – Mountain Bounty Farm

37 acres, Established 2020. Access: No public access. Conservation Values: Agricultural land, open space, wildlife and plant habitats, water resources and farmworker housing. c’oom pe Preserve is located on the San Juan Ridge and is home to Mountain Bounty Farm.

Clover Valley Preserve

35 Acres, Established 2014. Private property. Public access allowed. Bordering the community of Alta Sierra on 35 acres off of Brewer Road, Clover Valley Preserve is a lovely example of an oak and mixed conifer forest. South Wolf Creek bisects the length of the landscape, providing habitat for aquatic and terrestrial life.

Garden Bar Preserve

652 Acres, Established 2013. Limited public access. A 652-acre working cattle ranch located in South Nevada County showcases oak woodlands, grasslands, over two miles of Bear River frontage and two miles of interior creeks. Garden Bar Preserve connects a 9,000-acre conserved landscape on both sides of the Bear River.

Higgins Pond Preserve

2.25 Acres, Established 2017. Access: No Public Access. Conservation Values:  Bear River Recreation and Park District donated 1.23 acres of open space known as Higgins Pond Preserve to BYLT in 2017. Located at Higgins Corner, east of Highway 49 near Lake of the Pines, the preserve is considered sensitive habitat in an area that is designated for high density development.

Mathis Pond Preserve

1.5 acres, Established 1992. Public access allowed. The Ray and Helen Mathis donated this pond in Alta Sierra to the Land Trust because they wanted it preserved and available for use by area residents. Today families enjoy a nice trail, benches, picnic tables and a fishing spot while the pond provides habitat for western pond turtles, egrets and ducks.

Rice's Crossing

Rice’s Crossing Preserve

2,707 acres, Established 2014. Public access allowed. Spanning 2,707 acres and six miles of river frontage in the watershed of the North and Middle Yuba River, the Rice’s Crossing Preserve promises miles of new trails, sweeping vistas, new river access, and restoration of wildlife corridors and important fish habitat in coming years.

Sequoya Challenge Preserve

207 Acres, Established 2012. Public access allowed. On Highway 49 just five miles north of Nevada City near the South Yuba River bridge, the wheelchair accessible Independence Trail was built from an historic abandoned miner’s ditch, known as Excelsior Canal. BYLT’s intent is to one day transfer both the land and trail to California State Parks.

Wildflower Ridge Preserve

128 Acres, Established 2023. Public access allowed. Located a couple of miles outside of downtown Grass Valley, Wildflower Ridge Preserve offers a unique mix of hardwood and conifer forest with a rare concentration of native plants and beautiful wildflower meadows on lava cap soils. The Preserve also boasts two popular hiking trails.

Woodpecker Wildlife Preserve

28 Acres, Established 1999. Public access allowed. Old snags provide good wildlife habitat for bugs, birds and mammals on this preserve featuring a mixed forest dominated by ponderosa pine, incense cedar, sugar pine, Douglas fir, maple, black oak, dogwood and madrone. Hikers come to enjoy the Cascade Canal Trail and Orene Wetherall Trail.

Open Space Conservation Easements

willow tree ranch

Animal Place Sanctuary

590 Acres, Established 1998. Private property. No public access. The original owner of this 600 acres on McCourtney Road wanted to protect his beloved land used as a cattle ranch for many years. So toward the end of his life he worked with the Land Trust to create a legacy for his family. He placed a Conservation Easement on his property to protect the agricultural operation and natural habitat by preventing incompatible uses for future development. Today, nonprofit organization, Animal Place Sanctuary cares for rescued farm animals on the property.

bennett conservation easement

Bennett Street Grasslands

7.64 Acres, 2000. Private property. No public access. This preserve owned by California State Parks is located on the eastern edge of Grass Valley and bisected by South Wolf Creek. Empire Mine State Historical Park borders the southern boundary of the property. Meadows, large madrones and cottonwoods provide prime habitat for a variety of birds, bears and small mammals.

Burton Educational Preserve

38 Acres, Established 1997. Limited public access. Dotted with huge oaks and conifers, the Burton Homestead is an ideal outdoor classroom where children learn to be stewards of the land. Youth explore the wonders of nature – wetlands, ponds, wildflower meadow, woodland trails, an education farm and an active interpretive Native American Cultural Center called ‚ÄúPata-Panaka Village.‚ÄĚ

Chaparral Hill Preserve

10 Acres, 1995. Private property. No public access. Located in Yuba County near Oregon House the vegetation here consists of scattered oaks and gray pines with a large open grassy meadow crossed by seasonal, intermittent streams. This property is classified as critical habitat for deer migration.

dittemore conservation easement

Dittemore Preserve

3.5 Acres, 2000. Private property.¬†No public access. Located behind the Alta Sierra¬†Country Club Golf Course, the property is comprised of ponderosa¬†pine and black oaks anda beautiful annual grassland . Adjacent to BYLT‚Äôs Adam Ryan Preserve, this landscape provides habitat for many birds including Cooper’s hawk, lark sparrows, and¬†Bewick’s wrens.

feld open space conservation easements

Feld Family Easements

39 Acres, 2002. Private property. No public access. Located in the southwestern part of the county, this site is downstream from the Hannan Wildlife Preserve, and helps protect this important corridor for wildlife migration. A particularly pristine section of Dry Creek runs through the easement. Heavily forested, with good tree canopy over the creek, wildlife abounds in the area.

Fordyce and Sterling Lake Preserve

1,741 Acres, Established 2016. Public access allowed. Conservation Values:¬†¬†Forest habitat, headwater protection, recreational uses. Once you arrive at Fordyce Lake you feel that you’ve made it to a very special place. The roads leading here are not for the timid and 4wd is highly recommended. The vast expanses of the lake are breathtaking and the…

Hannah Preserve

Hannan Wildlife Preserve

41.52 Acres, 1999. Private property. No public access. Otters and beavers are found in this quarter mile of pristine Dry Creek with gentle pools, falls and massive boulders. Oak woodlands, mixed conifer forest and meadow areas contain native grasslands and wildflowers and provide excellent animal habitat. Bedrock milling cups used by Native Americans can be found in rock outcrops.

Hart Pitcher Plant Fen

Hart Preserve

10 Acres, 1998. Private property. No public access. Near Grouse Ridge at about 4,000 feet elevation, this fen protects a rare insect-eating plant that’s existence is reliant on nitrogen it collects from digesting bugs called the California pitcher plant (Darlingtonia californica). This rare habitat is the southern most occurance of the plant and collaborative efforts with California Native Plant Society Redbud Chapter members helps to ensure the utmost care is taken in conserving this special environment.

Jonathan Whitworth Butts Forest

Jonathan Whitworth Butts Forest

158 Acres, 2002. Private property. No public access. This memorial property protects 160 acres of mixed conifers and oaks and is located 3.5 miles northeast of Downieville. It is watered by the New York Ravine, plus two perennial springs and a seep and several seasonal springs.

Lindsey Lakes – PG&E

857 Acres, Established 2017. Access: Public Access Allowed Conservation Values: Forest and wildlife habitat, headwaters protection, recreational uses, scenic views Lindsey Lakes Conservation Easement encumbers three separate parcels totaling approximately 857 acres with elevation ranging from 6600 feet to 7500 feet. The Easement encompasses nearly all of Lindsey Lakes, a portion of Culbertson Lake, land…

little deer preserve

Little Deer Preserve

32 Acres, 2013. Private property. No public access. This preserve adjacent to BYLT’s Woodpecker Wildlife Preserve on Banner Mountain is regularly frequented by mountain lion and bear. Large madrones, incense cedar, and black oaks dominate the forest and the understory blooms with a variety of native wildflowers, such as the bleeding heart.

round mountain conservation easement

Lone Bobcat Woods

160 Acres, 1994. Private property. No public access. BYLT’s first conservation easement, Round Mountain protects scenic and wildlife values, prohibits development such as house building, subdividing, ranching, waste dumping and similar activities. The land is considered critical winter range for the Nevada City deer herd.

Meadow Lake Preserve

196 Acres, Established 2016. Public access allowed. Conservation Values:¬†¬†Forest habitat, headwater protection, recreational uses. The 196 acres which surrounds and encompasses parts of Meadow Lake is an exciting conservation acquisition for BYLT due to its location in the Upper Yuba Watershed near the headwaters of the Middle Yuba River and its variety of plant and…

bylt to protect narrows

Narrows – UC

41 Acres, Established 2015. Private property. No public access. Located below Englebright Dam on the northwesterly side of the Yuba River, The Narrows-UC is owned by the Regents of the University of California. Steep, rocky slopes of the river canyon provide a remarkable stage for blue oak-gray pine woodlands and grasslands. Golden eagle, peregrine falcon and bald eagle are found here, and in adjacent oak woodlands, over 100 different bird species have been surveyed. On 5,721 acres, to the north of the property, is Sierra Foothills Research and Extension Center.

Narrows ‚Äď PG&E

23 Acres, Established 2015. Private property. No public access. Located below Englebright Dam within the boundaries of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). PG&E will retain ownership of the 23 acres required for the operation and maintenance of its hydroelectric facilities. Permanently protecting the land below Englebright Dam will support the health and ongoing habitat restoration of the Yuba River salmon and steelhead fishery. Blue oak woodlands, riparian corridors and annual grasslands provide habitat for many wildlife species, including some special status bird species.

Wolf Creek at North Star

North Star at Wolf Creek

20.4 Acres, 2005. Private property. No public access. Located along Wolf Creek just south of the Glenn Jones Mining Museum on Allison Ranch Road, this conservation easement provides good habitat for animals living in the urban region of Grass Valley.

peaceful valley ranch

Peaceful Valley Ranch

99 Acres, 2003. Private property.¬†No public access. This Deer Creek property ‚Äďencompasses the original Peaceful Valley Ranch. Both conservation easements protect blue oak woodlands, foothill grasslands and mixed conifer forests. The property offers an approximate half-mile corridor along Deer Creek for wildlife habitat and migration.

ron and elly bird sanctuary

Peardale Bird Sanctuary

27 Acres, 1998. Private property. No public access. This Peardale property contains a rich mixture of riparian and upland forest habitats, seasonal wetlands, grasslands, a perennial stream, a large pond, wildflower meadows and forests of hardwood and mixed conifer. More than 130 different bird species have been reported including red-tailed hawk, western blue bird, red shafted northern flicker, California quail, Cooper’s hawk, great horned owl, water ouzel, black-headed grosbeak, great blue heron, and more.

Round Mountain

Open Space Conservation Easement
40 Acres, 2016 Access: Private property. No public access. Conservation Values: Scenic views, open space, plant and wildlife habitat. When you take North Bloomfield Road north of Nevada City toward the South Yuba River, you might get a glimpse of Round Mountain from across the broad gentle basin of Rock Creek. Its rounded ridge is a local landmark on the south side of the river canyon just downstream from Edwards Crossing.

Smiling Owl Preserve

Approximately 45 Acres, Established 2017. Access: Private property, no public access. The Smiling Owl Preserve encompasses approximately 45 acres located on the western edge of Tahoe Nation Forest. The preservation of this Property falls in line with Bear Yuba Land Trust‚Äôs mission to ‚Äúretain the rural character‚ÄĚ of Nevada County.

hahn easement

Sundance Ranch

158 Acres, 2008. Private property. No public access. This property includes 3,500 linear feet of riparian habitat along Deer Creek. The vegetation is a mixture of plants found in the lower elevation blue oak woodland habitat as well as plants found in the mid-upper elevations of the Sierra Nevada foothills. On the eastern edge, the property is adjacent to large agricultural parcels.

White Rock Lake

40 Acres, Established 2014. Public access allowed. Conservation Values:¬†¬†This Property fills in a key piece of protected lands within the checkerboard area of public and private ownership within the boundaries of the Tahoe National Forest. The protection of this Property will benefit the people of Nevada County through the protection of the Property‚Äôs timber productivity,…

Working Forest Conservation Easements


Clear Creek Preserve

106 Acres, 2012. Private property. No public access. This 106-acre high elevation forest preserve on Bowman Lake Road enforces the forest stewardship ethic of the property owners. So, they generously donated a conservation easement for 106 acres to be protected forever.

Deer Creek Forest Reserve

331 Acres, Established 2019. Private Property. Limited Public Access. Conservation Values: The Deer Creek Park Forest Reserve Conservation Easement consists of nine parcels totaling approximately 331 acres. The Property consists of montane conifer-hardwood, and provides habitat for a variety of wildlife species.

Grouse Ridge Research Forest

1,459 Acres. Established 2016. Public access allowed. Conservation Values:¬†¬†Forest productivity, climate change research, headwaters protection This land has been transferred from PG&E to the Center of Forestry at UC Berkeley. The land will be managed by the same team who runs the Blodgett Research Forest in Georgetown. Climate change research will be a main focus…

roth forestry easement

Roth Forest Preserve

350 Acres, 2006. Private property. No public access. The Roth Forest Conservation Easement is a working forest located east of North San Juan near Graniteville where the property owner continues to sustainably manage the property for timber production. Bloody Run Creek flows year round through the northen section of the property and bear frequent this area.

Agricultural Conservation Easements

Kramer Ranch

84 Acres, Established 2018 Private property.¬† No public access. Conservation Values: Agricultural productivity, scenic views, plant and wildlife habitat. Kramer Ranch is a 84 acre working sheep and cattle ranch along Wolf Creek south of Grass Valley.¬† The Kramer Ranch features an historic Nevada County barn that dates to the 1860s.¬† Visits to Kramer Ranch…

Lassaga Land and Livestock Ranch

Phase I: 2300 acres, Phase II 1,495 acres. Established 2017. Private property. No public access. Conservation Values: Agriculture and pasture lands for grazing animals, Oak woodlands. The Property consists of five parcels in Yuba County. The dominant habitat type throughout are annual grasslands. The southwest corner of the Property contains vernal pools which are located…

Linden Lea Ranch

760 Acres, Established 2001. Private property. No public access. A short drive from downtown Grass Valley, this beautiful 760-acre property is home to Nevada County Free Range Beef. Primary vegetation communities are ponderosa pine forest, interior live oak woodland, annual grassland, and northern mixed chaparral. Breathtaking vistas overlook the South Yuba River canyon near the southern boundary.

Pioneer Dawson Nichols Ranch

523 Acres, Established 2002. Private property. No public access. Located in southern Nevada County, adjacent to the Spenceville Wildlife Recreation Area, this working cattle ranch is predominately blue oak woodland and annual grassland. A perennial stream flows through the property, and two large wetlands attract a variety of migratory birds. This ranch has been in the same family since the 1850s.

Quail Ranch

1061 Acres, Established 1997. Private property. No public access. Located west of Highway 49 and south of McCourtney Road, Quail Ranch is contiguous to Wild Rock Ranch and Garden Bar Preserve. The easement on this working cattle ranch protects a uniquely large, connected landscape of important blue oak woodlands where California quail thrive.

Robinson Ranch

1,593 Acres, 2020 Private property.  No public access. Conservation Values: Agricultural productivity, scenic views, plant and wildlife habitat. Robinson Ranch is one of 12 original pioneer ranches in Nevada County. For 150 years, the ranch has been in commercial agricultural production, by one family–the Robinsons. The entire ranch is currently used for commercial beef production…

Wild Rock Ranch

495 Acres, Established 2000. Private property. No public access. This working landscape with scenic vistas is contiguous to Quail Ranch and Garden Bar Preserve. Hundreds of acres of well-managed pastures provide open space for wildlife. The property contains several large ponds, riparian corridors and great areas of oak woodlands.

Transferred Properties

Black Swan Preserve

50 Acres, Established 2012. Public access allowed. This landscape near the confluence of Deer Creek and the Lower Yuba River holds riparian habitat, blue oak woodland, wetlands and great groundwater-fed ponds. Trails wind through time and archaeological features such as Gold Rush-era townsites, hardrock tunnels and the towering hydraulic-eroded bluffs can be seen here.

North Star House

North Star House

14 Acres, Established 2002. Limited public access. The 1906 mansion designed by Julia Morgan was once the residence of North Star Mine Superintendent Arthur De Winte Foote and his wife, author and illustrator Mary Hallock Foote. The mansion was used to entertain investors and innovators in the local gold mining industry. Today the house and grounds are used as a community event venue.