Bear Yuba Land Trust (BYLT) is thrilled to announce the permanent protection of WILDFLOWER RIDGE PRESERVE, a 128-acre property located at Rough & Ready Highway and Ridge Road in Grass Valley.
Long at risk for subdivision and development, BYLT has purchased the property with support from Sierra Nevada Conservancy and through the generosity of a dedicated conservation donor. This acquisition of open space and important wildlife habitat joins BYLT’s 25,000+ acres of land permanently protected in the Bear and Yuba River watersheds.
Explore Wildflower Ridge Preserve’s two public trails, Wildflower Ridge Trail and Rough &Ready Ditch Trail, and experience diverse habitats in the beautiful wildflower meadows, unique lava cap areas, heritage black oak groves, and conifer forests. With easy access from local schools, BYLT is delighted to protect and enhance a place for youth to explore nature.
Protection of this land also creates the opportunity for BYLT to collaborate with the Nevada City Rancheria Nisenan in the establishment of a cultural conservation easement that grants permanent land rights and access to the Tribe. BYLT intends to work closely with the Tribe and other community partners on further enhancements of the land and trails for the benefit of the community.
Now protected forever, Wildflower Ridge Preserve will continue to be a destination for local residents and visitors to connect with the benefits of nature. With its protection, BYLT has the opportunity to expand trails and outdoor recreation, including developing outdoor living classrooms, native pollinator gardens, and additional universally accessible trails, all for the community to enjoy!
Flora and Fauna:
Wildflower Ridge Preserve has a lava cap rock formation along the ridge, which is popular among botanists, community members, and local schools because it is known to have unique and threatened wildflowers. Heritage groves of black oaks also occur on the Property and 25 landmark black oaks have been identified, with one black oak measuring 60 inches diameter. The mixed hardwood and conifer forest also provide spotted owl habitat.
According to the Redbud Chapter of the California Native Plant Society, over 100 plant species have been identified on just 25 acres. Some of the native and unique plants include tree species black oak (Quercus kelloggii), gray pine (Pinus sabiniana), madrone (Arbutus menziesii), and Sierra plum (Prunus subcordata); and shrub species white-leaf manzanita (Arctostaphylos viscida), coffeeberry (Frangula californica) and poison oak (Toxicodendron diversilobum). Wildflower Ridge Preserve is also known for its forb species, including its bounty of annual and perennial wildflowers come spring. Some of our favorites include the spurred snapdragon (Antirrhinum cornutum), wild hyacinth (Triteleia hyacinthina), and Pratten’s buckwheat (Eriogonum prattenianum), just to name a few.
For a more detailed list of species at Wildflower Ridge Preserve, as well as photos and resources for charting blooms, visit calflora.org at this link.
History: Wildflower Ridge Preserve lies within the historic Kenny Ranch, also known as part of Hell’s Half Acre. Long at risk for subdivision, BYLT has monitored the property’s development risk status for decades due to the trail easements BYLT has held on the property for 20+ years. Wildflower Ridge Trail and Rough & Ready Ditch Trail, totaling two miles that encircle the property, have been popular public local trails and BYLT continues to expand these trails to connect with schools and downtown Grass Valley. Acquired by BYLT in August 2023, Wildflower Ridge Preserve joins BYLT’s 25,000+ acres of land permanently protected in the Bear and Yuba River watersheds.
What to do there: Wildflower Ridge Preserve contains two popular nature trails: Wildflower Ridge Trail (0.9 miles) which winds through open meadow and forested hillside between Twin Cities Church and A to Z Hardware, and the Rough & Ready Ditch Trail (1.0 mile) which follows the historic canal through the peaceful wooded slope. A hike utilizing both of the trails and connectors makes for a lovely day of hiking at a total of 2.6 miles. April through May are the prime months for seeing the brilliant displays of wildflowers in the meadows.
How to get there: Located at 13167 Ridge Road in Grass Valley. To reach the trailheads, from the top of Mill Street in downtown Grass Valley go 1.4 miles west out of town on West Main Street (becomes Rough & Ready Highway) to the intersection of Rough & Ready Highway and Ridge Road. The east end trailhead is at the dirt parking area next to the A to Z Supply “Garden Center” on Ridge Road. (N39.22928 W121.07946). When church is not in service, you can use the parking lot at Twin Cities Church to access the trails.
BYLT invites the community to join in celebration of their newest Preserve. Gather with BYLT Board and staff, friends, and neighbors for a toast to the land and a Preserve-inspired reading by Nevada County Poet Laureate Kirsten Casey.
Wildflower Ridge Preserve Reception
Date: Thursday, September 14, 2023
Time: 5:30pm – 7:00pm
Place: Wildflower Ridge Preserve, 13167 Ridge Road, Grass Valley
Parking: Twin Cities Church Parking lot, 11726 Rough & Ready Hwy, Grass Valley, CA
FREE event, open to all. RSVP at bylt.org/events
Learn more about Bear Yuba Land Trust at bylt.org.
Bear Yuba Land Trust (BYLT) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, community-supported organization that works to promote voluntary conservation of the region’s natural, historical and agricultural legacy. BYLT stewards a lasting community heritage by protecting and enhancing meadows, watersheds, forests, farms and ranches, trails and parks.