Thursday, February 02, 2012

Bear Yuba Land Trust and Future Trails

Nevada County has no county parks system. Local government (and the voting populace) has seen fit to avoid creating such an entity for many years. They seem content to let the adjacent federally-managed public lands serve as our default park and trail system.

Regardless of how you feel about this, this de facto policy has left many areas of the county not near federal land void of trails, particularly in the south county. In other parts of the nation, local land trusts will acquire property with the intention of turning it over to a regional park system. For example, the Peninsula Open Space Trust has an exemplary record of doing this in the Santa Cruz mountains (I've volunteered with POST on such a project). Since this approach is virtually impossible here in Nevada County, the Bear Yuba Land Trust ends up managing open space lands and trails within.

There is also the need to establish public trail easements on private land. The Land Trust has an excellent record making this happen by working cooperatively with property owners on projects which are often close to town. This results in permanent trail access, not trails that are built only to be closed later.

As trail user, I've long advocated support for our Land Trust and feel stronger about this more than ever. I serve on the trails committee of the Land Trust and am aware of the incredible amount of acreage the organization will manage in the near future. We are talking about tens of thousands of acres, from the lower Bear River to the Sierra with new trails that will extend 20-30 miles. They will be building or managing more local trails than anyone outside of federal government agencies.

Huge opportunities await for advocates of new trails. It is very exciting. To make this happen, our local land trust will need the support of us with fund raising, trail stewardship, organization, membership and otherwise. Find out how you can help the Land Trust with these endeavors.

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