AUBURN, November 13, 2018 – Placer Land Trust has purchased and permanently protected the 361-acre Laursen Bear River Preserve on the Bear River north of Auburn, in partnership with Emigrant Trails Greenway Trust, the California Wildlife Conservation Board and the Laursen family.
The Preserve is comprised of 361 acres of blue oak woodland and about 1.5 miles of riparian habitat along the banks of the Bear River. It connects several existing Placer Land Trust Preserves totaling 3,200 acres along the Bear River, enhancing water and air quality in the region and supporting healthy, diverse populations of plants and wildlife.
“Protecting riverfront lands from development is vital to ensure our water quality as well as scenic beauty and wildlife corridors along waterways,” said the Trust’s Executive Director Jeff Darlington.
The Bear River watershed provides irrigation water to tens of thousands of acres of farmland in western Placer County and the Sacramento Valley.
The Laursen Bear River Preserve is home to mule deer, mountain lion, grey fox, flying squirrel, Cooper’s hawk, lazuli bunting, and a number of California Native Plant Society listed plant species, as well as the locally-rare Oregon white oak. Together with the adjacent Shutamul Bear River Preserve protected by Placer Land Trust in 2006, the Laursen Bear River Preserve features the largest known population of California dogface butterfly (the California state insect) in the Sierra Nevada. With purchase of this property, Placer Land Trust has now protected the entire known stand of habitat in Placer County for this rare butterfly. The Trust is working with local citizen scientist Deren Ross and the Bohart Museum of Entomology at U.C. Davis to study the dogface butterfly.
“People have lived on this land for thousands of years – Native Americans, Basque sheepherders, gold miners,” said Andy Laursen, who with his wife Shana sold the land to Placer Land Trust at a discounted price. “We protected all this land to keep it the way it is, to keep it natural, to keep it special.”
Placer Land Trust will begin cattle grazing on the property in 2019 to reduce fuel load and manage invasive plants, promoting fire safety and habitat biodiversity.
For more information and a photo gallery of the Laursen Preserve, click here.