Trust for Public Land and Placer Land Trust Safeguard Over 1,500 Acres in Sierra Nevada Foothills along Lake Clementine and the North Fork of the American River

Conservation Win Will Allow for New Public Access to the Auburn State Recreation Area and Lake Clementine Region 

Applegate, CA – Placer Land Trust (PLT) and Trust for Public Land (TPL) proudly announce the protection of over 1,500 acres of significant river canyon along Lake Clementine and the North Fork American River in the Sierra Nevada foothills northeast of Sacramento.

The property is 1,566 acres, about twice the size of Central Park in New York. The two land conservation organizations purchased the property from private developers and have now conveyed it to the Bureau of Land Management [BLM] to ensure the land is held in the public trust.

Guillermo Rodriguez, TPL’s California Director, stated: “The protection of these 1,566 acres from possible development is a major milestone in our ongoing commitment to safeguarding California’s natural and recreational treasures for all Californians. This collaborative effort with Placer Land Trust exemplifies the power of partnerships in advancing conservation goals and ensuring that these lands are better accessible to the public, while guaranteeing the protection of California’s waterways.”

The property is located between the Placer County communities of Applegate and Foresthill. The preserve provides new recreational access from Interstate 80 to the river and Lake Clementine within the popular Auburn State Recreation Area.

“This property contains existing trails that can serve anyone traveling along the Interstate 80 corridor,” said Jeff Darlington, Placer Land Trust’s Executive Director. “Instead of being subdivided, developed, and locked away, this property — with its sparkling lake, wild river, and forested canyon — will be available for public recreation just a few minutes off the highway.”

This project is the latest in a long collaboration among TPL, PLT and public resource agencies to protect the natural beauty and ecological integrity of Placer County’s rivers, streams and key watershed lands for everyone to enjoy. Since 2007, the two organizations have invested nearly $20 million to permanently protect over 4,000 acres along the American River, Bear River, and Raccoon Creek. On the American River, in 2014, TPL, PLT and the State of California secured the protection of over 400 acres in what is now the Big Bend North Fork Preserve, less than three miles upstream from the newly protected property.

The 1,566-acre property is also adjacent to four other properties protected by PLT in past years, which – along with existing public lands – creates a protected block of land in excess of 38,000 acres, which is similar in size to San Francisco.

The project provides multiple conservation benefits, including the protection of scenic views of the American River canyon; protection of the health of the American River watershed that provides critical water supply for the Sacramento Region including drinking water for hundreds of thousands of Californians; protection of important wildlife habitat and a wildlife migration corridor; and carbon sequestration and air quality benefits through avoided residential development. Furthermore, BLM’s future public planning process will consider measures to help reduce the risk and impact of catastrophic wildfire including fuel load management.

The Auburn State Recreation Area (ASRA), spanning 40 miles along the North Fork and Middle Fork of the American River, attracts over 900,000 visitors annually. Lake Clementine is a popular destination within the area for swimming, boating, picnicking, fishing, and hiking. The access created by this acquisition will significantly improve accessibility to Lake Clementine and ASRA, benefiting the rural communities nearby, millions of Californians in the Sacramento region who live within an hour’s drive, and tens of millions that live within a couple hour’s drive in Northern California and Nevada.

“Creating new and inclusive access to the great outdoors is part of our work with TPL and others to provide more equity in recreation,” added Darlington. “Everyone should be able to visit nature, and Placer County is such a wonderful place to get outdoors!”

The property was sold by the Tsakopoulos, Cummings, and Brodovsky families, who worked with TPL and PLT over three years to complete the sale and transfer to BLM.  The Tsakopoulos family company is one of the largest landowners in Northern California – conducting agricultural, conservation, renewable energy, and land development activities.

“Our families have a long connection to this land, the American River and Lake Clementine,” said Angelo Tsakopoulos, “and we’re very happy with this conservation outcome. This land, the river and the lake are special, and we’ve enjoyed seeing wildlife thrive here. We’re pleased to know this land and the trails on it will be open to public access and recreation under BLM ownership.”

Project support funding was provided by the State of California’s Sierra Nevada Conservancy and by the local community, including the landowners themselves.  The federal Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) provided TPL and PLT a grant for the acquisition and transfer of the land to BLM. LWCF funds help safeguard natural areas, water resources and cultural heritage across the country, and provide recreation opportunities to all Americans.

“Outdoor Alliance is excited to celebrate the closing of the Lake Clementine & North Fork American River Preserve. This expands access to incredible outdoor recreation opportunities and advances California’s commitment to protect 30 percent of its land and water by 2030 to mitigate the effects of climate change. The Land Water Conservation Fund continues to increase access to public lands and enhance people’s experience outdoors by making more green space and more outdoor recreation available,” said Katie Hawkins, California Program Director, Outdoor Alliance.

Protecting this area is one small step towards achieving the federal goal to restore, connect and conserve 30% of land and water across the country by 2030. This effort seeks to conserve natural habitat and diverse plants and animals, build climate resilience, and increase access to nature for communities that lack it. In addition to committing to the goal of protecting 30×30, the federal “America the Beautiful” initiative of 2022 highlights the need to create more parks and safe outdoor opportunities for all Americans to enjoy.

The joint effort of TPL and PLT is a testament to the commitment to the preservation of California’s natural heritage, ensuring that these lands remain a source of inspiration, recreation, and environmental health for generations to come.


About Trust for Public Land

Trust for Public Land (TPL) is a national nonprofit that works to connect everyone to the benefits and joys of the outdoors. As a leader in equitable access to the outdoors, TPL works with communities to create parks and protect public land where they are needed most. Since 1972, TPL has protected more than 4 million acres of public land, created more than 5,364 parks, trails, schoolyards, and iconic outdoor places, raised $93 billion in public funding for parks and public lands, and connected nearly 9.4 million people to the outdoors. To learn more, visit

About Placer Land Trust

Placer Land Trust (PLT) is a local nonprofit that works with willing landowners and conservation partners to permanently protect and care for natural, agricultural and recreational lands in Placer County for current and future generations. Protecting these landscapes is essential to successfully build and sustain connections among people, their community, and the natural environment. To date PLT has permanently protected over 20,000 acres of land in Placer County. To learn more, visit