Wednesday, March 30, 2016

California: Land deal locks down popular mountain trail access - Full Article

Benjamin Spillman,
March 29, 2016

Property surrounding one of the most popular unofficial trailheads in the northern Sierra Nevada is now in the public’s hands.

The decision by the U.S. Forest Service to acquire the Truckee-area property means the land won’t be subject to private development.

That’s a relief for everyone from backcountry skiers to mountain bikers to Pacific Crest Trail hikers who use the trailhead to access backcountry in the area around Castle Peak.

“I think everyone has been looking at this as a critical part of the public land puzzle for decades,” said Markley Bavinger, project manager for the Trust for Public Land.

The Trust for Public Land and the Truckee Donner Land Trust bought the 412-acre property from the longtime owners for $2.1 million.

Then the two land conservation non-profits immediately sold it to the Forest Service for the same price.

The Forest Service got the money to cover the purchase price from the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

That fund is mostly derived from a fees companies pay for offshore oil and gas drilling. The fees are set aside in order to purchase property at fair market value in order to preserve wildlife habitat, provide recreation opportunities, preserve scenic vistas or ensure clean water...

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