Placer Land Trust
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Organization Details


Placer Land Trust (PLT) believes that quality of life deeply correlates with the presence of open space. We treasure the local food, natural playgrounds, and scenic vistas of Placer County, and we lead the region in the permanent protection of these natural wonders. Protecting these lands creates and maintains a healthy environment, economy, and quality of life for our community now and forever. We protect land by working with willing landowners, using two primary tools: conservation easements or fee title purchase. A landowner decides if they wish to retain a property and retire the development rights with a conservation easement, or they can sell the property outright and we may choose to purchase it. When pursuing an easement or land purchase we must determine the conservation value of a property, have a third-party appraiser determine the financial value of the property or easement, work with the landowner to come to a clear agreement on the best way to move forward, and secure the funds needed to complete the transaction. A landowner can donate the property or easement, or PLT can secure public or private funds to protect the land.
Program Successes
Since our inception, Placer Land Trust (PLT) has permanently protected over 11,300 acres of valuable natural and agricultural lands in Placer County. 2019 was another successful year, with our members helping us complete four separate conservation projects:

- The Southern Cross Preserve (near Alta) and the North Fork of North Fork American River Preserve (near Emigrant Gap) together total 366 acres of rugged and amazingly beautiful canyon land in the Sierra. Protection of these river corridors provide habitat for numerous birds and mammals, preserve a section of the public Euchre Bar Trail, and mitigate effects of pollution, development, and erosion that threaten our water quality.

- We added a 28-acre addition to our Rock Creek Preserve (in Auburn). The Preserve contains oak woodlands, seasonal wetlands and aquatic habitat that are valuable for a diverse range of wildlife including waterfowl and other migratory birds, and provides public access and recreation opportunities including fishing, birdwatching, and hiking.

- The brand new Loera-Harvey North Fork Preserve (near Weimar) is 42 acres of beautiful canyon land that will help preserve our water quality, and provide critical habitat for wildlife, including the foothill yellow-legged frog which has just been listed as a threatened species in California.
Placer Land Trust (PLT) has currently protected over 11,300 acres, and we take our job of stewarding these lands seriously. This expensive work includes actively monitoring conservation easements to ensure properties are being kept in excellent condition, and maintaining and enhancing (where possible) the preserves that we own to ensure public benefit is protected now and forever. This includes routine but costly functions such as habitat protection, non-native invasive weed management, and the management of fuel loads to help prevent the risk of fire. Where and when conditions and funding allow, we go "above and beyond" to enhance the public value by restoring and creating wildlife habitat, enhancing streams and natural communities, and creating opportunities for the public to become involved in this work.
Program Successes
Here is one example of our recent successes in Habitat Stewardship & Enhancement:

Placer Land Trust (PLT) is making some exciting progress at our Doty Ravine Preserve, where we've tapped into the hard work of existing beavers to direct their efforts to reconnect approximately 38 acres of historic floodplain with Doty Ravine Creek. In the 1880's, a levee was built along the southern edge of the creek to constrict the floodplain. In the fall of 2016, we worked with U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to remove much of this levee in strategic locations. This, along with existing beaver dams, got the ball rolling in making some impressive changes in the floodplain. We have continued our efforts by adding structures to Doty Ravine Creek to assist the beavers in creating dams in select locations. This has resulted in more than four acres of a diverse and beautiful permanently-flooded wetland. Why does this matter? PLT Conservation Director, Lynnette Batt, shares, "In ten years of work with stream and wetland restoration, this is one of the most impressive projects I have seen. The transformation that has taken place at Doty is amazing. It's providing a ton of great new habitat for birds, fish, and wildlife." And for us humans, the restored floodplain helps with flood control by temporarily storing surges of water and slowing it down so that underground aquifers may be recharged. We can't wait to expand this project, working to reproduce our success downstream. Stay tuned!
Placer Land Trust believes that time spent in nature greatly improves quality of life. It can have many health benefits like reducing anxiety and depression, and increasing immunity, energy, and happiness. Nature helps people value community and close relationships more deeply. It provides opportunities for outdoor adventures that improve self-esteem and confidence. And science comes to life when education takes place outdoors. For these reasons, we work to increase access to nature for everyone! Placer Land Trust has built and maintains miles of trails through 3,000 acres of permanently protected foothills wilderness. The long-term goal is to connect these trails with those at Hidden Falls Regional Park, creating an unprecedented 50 mile continuous trail system in Placer County, stretching from Raccoon Creek to the Bear River. Several trails in other areas are already open to the public and can be found on our website for you to explore at your leisure. We also offer a variety of docent-led hikes and activities on our private preserves to give people access to some natural treasures in Placer County. Outings take place each month and can be found on our event calendar on our website.
Program Successes
- Canyon View Preserve: In 2013, Placer Land Trust completed a 1.5-mile trail on this 50-acre property that offers views of the Sierra and the Foresthill Bridge along the American River Canyon rim. It is conveniently located right off of I-80 and is an ideal place for a short family outing. Dogs are allowed on leash.

- Big Hill Preserves & Harvego Bear River Preserve: Big Hill Preserves is an 882-acre block that is actually made up of four separate preserves that have been permanently protected by PLT. The Harvego Bear River Preserve lies to the North, along the Bear River, and is PLT's largest preserve at 1,778 acres. Both Preserves are in the Bear River watershed in the largest contiguous area of oak woodlands remaining in Placer County. Approximately 331 species of wildlife inhabit the oak woodlands including mountain lions, bobcats, several species of hawk, snakes, owls, and songbirds. In addition to the benefits these preserves provide for wildlife, they are also preserving our local cultural heritage as there is evidence of the Nisenan people, Native Americans who made their homes and livelihood in western Placer County, still visible in these Preserves today. Since 2014, many miles of new trail have been built on these preserves, thanks to several grants from REI and numerous generous individual donors, making this special landscape accessible to the community. These trails are available to the public throughout the year through our docent-led hike program. Check out our event page on our website to join us on the next hike.

- Recreation Partnerships: Placer Land Trust is proud to partner with organizations such as REI who holds Outdoor School classes at Big Hill Preserves, allowing us to offer a wider variety of activities to the community. In addition, we have partnerships with other organizations, such as MTB Experience to bring mountain bike clinics to Big Hill which focuses on encouraging women to learn more about the sport in a relaxed, supportive environment.