Conservation group buys Sierra forest land for public use
SACRAMENTO — The state’s largest private landowner has sold for public use more than 1,900 acres of Sierra Nevada timberland west of Lake Tahoe, including a section along the Pacific Crest Trail.
The Sierra Pacific Industries land will be incorporated into the Tahoe National Forest after it was purchased by the Trust for Public Land using federal conservation funds.
The Pacific Crest Trail portion includes 628 acres purchased for $875,000 along Barker Pass, about seven miles southwest of Tahoe City and Lake Tahoe, adjacent to the Granite Chief Wilderness. The trail stretches 2,650 miles from Canada to Mexico.
The remaining 1,280 acres purchased for $1.99 million is along the north fork of the American River northwest of Lake Tahoe, and includes land in nearby Duncan Canyon.
The purchases are the third and fourth under a 1991 agreement between the Anderson-based company and the trust to buy more than 35,000 acres mainly along scenic Sierra rivers.
The company and trust credited Democratic California Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer and Republican U.S. Rep. John Doolittle with including money for the purchases in the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund.
Sierra Pacific has been a focus of criticism by environmental groups for its logging plans for a million acres of its 1.5 million acres of private timberland. But trust executive director Reed Holderman praised the company for its willingness to help protect thousands of acres of its most pristine property.
The American River canyon, for instance, is so rugged and remote that it remains virtually untouched, the trust said.
Company President A.A. “Red” Emmerson said in a statement that the sale will help the public while the company will use the opportunity to consolidate its logging in areas more appropriate for continued timber harvests.
On the Net:
The Trust for Public Land: http://www.tpl.org
Sierra Pacific Industries: http://www.sierrapacificind.com