A hike worth saving: The other Cold Stream
TRUCKEE ” The Truckee Donner Land Trust has another key piece of open space in its sites, abutting recent acquisitions north of Truckee.
Cold Stream ” not to be confused with Coldstream Canyon or Cold Creek that flows through it near Donner Memorial State Park ” flows off the flanks of Mt. Loll north of Truckee into the little Truckee River.
“This is comparable in ecological value to Perazzo Meadows,” said Perry Norris, executive director of the land trust. “The Mt. Lola trail is arguably one of the best hikes in the area, and the property also has a huge wet meadow that is ideal habitat for the endangered Willow Flycatcher.”
The 1,320-acre property slots in between recent land trust purchases Perazzo meadows and Carpenter Ridge overlooking Independence Lake, adding up to a total of more than 15,000 acres that could be preserved, Norris said.
The property is the last piece of privately held land containing Cold Stream, according to the land trust’s newsletter.
But Norris said it isn’t a done deal yet.
The land trust and the Trust for Public Land will have to raise funds between $500,000 and $1 million from private donors by the end of October to close the deal with the land owners, Fraze-Roberts, a limited partnership that holds the land as an investment.
“We’re in a foot race to raise the funds by the end of October, that’s the deadline on the purchase sale agreement,” Norris said.
U.S. Forest Service biologists have identified Cold Stream as an ideal place to reintroduce Lahontan Cutthrought Trout and a high priority for owl and goshawk habitat, according to the land trust’s newsletter.
Dave Sutton, the Northern California and Nevada director for the Trust for Public land, said the piece also plays into the Sierra Checkerboard ” a land ownership pattern left over from the transcontinental railroad days that is making consistent land management tricky.
“It has really good habitat value and very high recreation value, and we would not want to see that lost to the public,” Sutton said.
Like the land conveyed from the land trust to the Forest Service recently above Independence Lake, Norris said the new Cold Stream property, if successfully purchased, would likely be held by the land trust for a few years before conveying it to the appropriate public agency.
“We’re not assuming the state is going to be able to provide funding, we are assuming the budget freeze will continue for some time. I think funding for conservation is going to dry up,” said Perry Norris.
And Norris said that won’t just effect them, it will effect groups all over the state including local groups like the Sierra Business Council, Truckee River Watershed Council, and the Mountain Area Preservation Foundation.
Dave Sutton said the budget freeze left the Trust for Public Land holding properties longer before conveying them to public agencies, adding unforeseen costs to the organization.
“We’re in a moment in time where we have an opportunity to do a lot of great conservation work ” there is not the same competition from the private sector ” so losing state funding now is a difficult situation to be in,” Sutton said. “We’re getting as creative as we can.”
To learn more or to support the land trust, go to http://www.tdlandtrust.org.
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