TPL Acquires 731 Acres on South Yuba River (CA)
NEVADA CITY, CA, 9/12/02—The Trust for Public Land (TPL), Sierra Pacific Industries (SPI), the Sierra Fund, and the South Yuba River Citizens League (SYRCL) announced TPL’s purchase of more than 700 acres of forestland from SPI, along the state-designated Wild and Scenic River corridor of the South Yuba River. The property is part of a popular recreation area attracting many thousands of visitors each year. TPL purchased the land valued at $3.56 million from SPI today and hopes to convey it to California State Parks to expand South Yuba River State Park by December 31, 2002.
“California voters passed Proposition 40 just last spring, and this important acquisition is already delivering on its promise,” said Mary D. Nichols, California’s Secretary for Resources. “Proposition 40 will protect scenic land along the Yuba River, and also help generate additional funding from other public and private sources. The result will be hundreds of acres of additional parkland for public recreation within the State Parks system. I’d say, that’s a home run on all counts.”
“We are grateful to SPI for selling this extraordinary property to us for future public use and enjoyment. We now need to raise the public and private funding necessary to complete the transaction and expand the South Yuba River State Park. We are working with the Sierra Fund, SYRCL, and our donors to protect this beautiful property for future generations” said David Sutton, TPL’s director of the Sierra Nevada Program.
“This sale to the Trust for Public Land reflects our commitment to creating a balance between wild land preservation, economic investment, and responsible forest management,” said A.A. “Red” Emmerson, president of SPI. “This is something important to both of us and results in long-term benefits for all Californians.”
The State’s approval of SPI’s timber harvest plan three years ago triggered public debate regarding the future of the property. In response to the community, SPI signed an agreement with TPL, SYRCL, the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, California State Parks, and Nevada County to hold off on logging and pursue a potential land exchange with the Forest Service or the BLM. The agreement expired in December 2000 without securing suitable exchange lands.
SPI voluntarily held off on logging the property until May of this year when SPI would have needed to develop logging roads for a summer harvest before the timber harvest plan expires in August. SPI’s decision to hold off on logging gave TPL, SPI, and SYRCL the time needed to negotiate an agreement whereby TPL has now purchased the property.
The Sierra Fund and SYCRL, together with TPL, are working to raise private funds in addition to seeking public funds from voter-approved Proposition 40 for the acquisition. Both private and public funds are necessary for eventual transfer of the property to State Parks for long-term stewardship and public use. As a result of this agreement, SPI will buy productive timberland elsewhere. TPL’s purchase is made possible by a low-interest loan from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation.
“We worked very hard with SPI and TPL to buy this incredible property for public use. We are pleased that SPI has been so responsive and willing to work with the community and the Trust for Public Land to protect this stretch of the river which is loved and enjoyed by so many people,” said Michael Killigrew of SYRCL.
The purchase agreement is part of a major deal announced last summer between SPI and TPL to protect up to 30,000 acres in the Sierra Nevada for public recreation, wildlife habitat, and watershed protection. Sierra Pacific Industries and TPL have been working together since 1989 to exchange or transfer land owned by the forest products company to public ownership. The land acquisitions are parcels that checkerboard the Sierra Nevada river canyons-a legacy of 19th century railroad land grants.
TPL is a national land conservation organization dedicated to conserving land for people as parks, greenways, wilderness areas and natural, historic, and cultural resources for future generations. Founded in 1972, TPL has protected more than 1.4 million acres nationwide. TPL’s Sierra Nevada Program has helped protect more than 50,000 acres of critical watershed, recreation, and forestlands in the Sierra Nevada, most recently along the North Fork of the American River. TPL recently researched and published The State of California Rivers, the first-ever report assessing the health of all 80 major rivers in California. For more information find TPL on-line at www.tpl.org or SPI at www.spi-ind.com.