Under a deal announced by the Truckee Donner Land Trust and Trust for Public Land acting together as the Northern Sierra Partnership, 3,000 acres of scenic backcountry in the northern Sierra Nevada north of Truckee, California was purchased for $8 million from Clifton and Barbara Johnson.
The two conservation groups say the property is rich in history and natural beauty. It includes 260-acre natural Webber Lake (Google Map), the historic Webber Lake Hotel, unspoiled, wildflower-dotted meadows and critical habitat for wildlife.
Barbara Johnson, whose family had owned the land for about a century and once used Lacey Meadows for summer sheep grazing, hailed the acquisition.
“Our wishes have been fulfilled, and the legacy of our family will be remembered,” she said in a statement. “The beautiful lands we have worked on and care for are, at long last, protected for future generations to enjoy forever.”
One of the most heavily traveled Emigrant routes across the Sierra in the 19th century, Henness Pass Road, goes past Webber Lake. The hotel is the only remaining stagecoach hotel along the route. The Truckee Donner Land Trust will own and manage the property, which will open to the public in the spring. In the short term, three new trailheads will allow non-motorized access to Lacey Meadows.
Sierra Nevada Conservancy, Northern Sierra Partnership, and the California Wildlife Conservation Board joined many individuals to provide funding for the purchase, which is the latest in a series of acquisitions by the Northern Sierra Partnership to conserve the Little Truckee River watershed. In the five years since its launch, the partnership has helped toconserve over 14,000 acres in the watershed, including Independence Lake, Perazzo Meadows, Webber Falls, and the Mount Lola Trail.
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