Since 2000, the Feather River Land Trust has protected over 36,000 acres in the Feather River region, using conservation easements and outright purchase. Together, we are conserving and restoring publicly important lands that support outstanding biodiversity, waterways, fisheries, recreational and educational opportunities, cultural sites, agricultural lands, and spectacular scenery. About 90% of these 36,000 acres consist of working cattle ranches, helping ranching families to stay on the land.
The properties we've protected include:
Lands We Own
Purchased 2014 - FRLT partnered with The Nature Conservancy to conserve the 331-acre Smith Ranch in Sierra Valley. A working ranch, the Smith Ranch is also part of a critical core of seasonal and permanent wetlands in Sierra Valley, which support the greatest diversity and abundance of birds in the entire Sierra Nevada. Located near FRLT’s Maddalena Ranch on the Middle Fork of the Feather River, it offers extensive seasonal wetland marshes, open water, and upland areas of sagebrush scrub, spring wildflowers, and bunchgrasses. These habitats support a rich diversity of wildlife and provide breeding habitat for sensitive species like Greater Sandhill Cranes, White-faced Ibis, and 200+ pair of Yellow-headed Blackbirds. The Smith Ranch offers exceptional opportunities for paddling the waterways and exploring the land’s ecology, wildlife, and on-going agricultural heritage.
Purchased February 2012 - The Feather River Land Trust purchased the Leonhardt Ranch, conserving a Learning Landscape for Quincy's schoolchildren, forever. The 42-acre ranch, just across the street from Quincy Jr./Sr. High School, provides a unique, living classroom for hands-on learning and stewardship experiences. The property's meadow, riparian, and wetland habitats support a diversity wildlife species including American badger, beavers, frogs, Sandhill Cranes, waterfowl and unique songbirds like Bullock's Oriole and Yellow-breasted Chat. Visit the ranch.
Purchased December 2006 - The Heart K Ranch in the heart of Genesee Valley is a Sierra Nevada treasure, boasting scenic mountain beauty and a rich historical and cultural past. The 900-acre ranch offers diverse woodlands, meadows, and creekside habitats that support an incredible diversity of wildlife. It is one of the most species-diverse properties in the Feather River Watershed, supporting 26 species of conservation concern. We invite you to visit. More...
Purchased March 2003 - FRLT partnered with The Nature Conservancy and Sierra Business Council to acquire its first property, protecting the 575-acre Maddalena Property. The Maddalena property has become a successful demonstration of managing land for sustainable agriculture and wetland and wildlife protection. Located in the heart of Sierra Valley, the Maddalena Property is a birder’s paradise. Its wetlands support more than 120 bird species, including sandhill cranes, bald eagles, white-faced ibis and a variety of waterfowl and raptor species. We invite you to visit the Sierra Valley’s only public access for education and low-impact recreation. Check out our wildlife viewing platform and interpretive trail, paddle the wetlands, and enjoy spectacular 360-degree views of the mountains surrounding Sierra Valley. More...
Purchased October 2015 - FRLT and the local community joined together to conserve this Plumas County icon in the Almanor Basin. The 130 year old barn sits on 107 acres of undeveloped, scenic meadow at the eastern entrance to Chester, CA. With the help of over 550 friends, FRLT conserved this beautiful property for present and future generations, habitat for wildlife, recreation, and to preserve cultural heritage in our special region. More...
Lands Protected by Conservation Easements
February 2014 - With help from our members and the Sierra Nevada Conservancy, Northern Sierra Partnership, Hind Foundation, and Gimbel Foundation, the Feather River Land Trust purchased a conservation easement on the 142-acre Chadwick Ranch, protecting working agricultural lands, outstanding wildlife and riparian habitat, scenic open space, and a unique, living classroom right across the street from Loyalton schools. The Loyalton Learning Landscape is home to a host of unique wildlife species including rainbow trout, American dippers, diverse songbirds including yellow warblers and Bullock's orioles, barn owls, eagles, prairie falcons, rough-legged hawks, and mule deer. K-12 students will help manage the property for sustainable agricultural production, meadow and riparian habitats, and place-based learning. More...
December 2013 - With support from our members and the Sierra Nevada Conservancy and a wonderful partnership with rancher Harry Rogers and his family, FRLT purchased a conservation easement to protect the 627-acre Key Brand Ranch forever. Conservation easements with FRLT and the Natural Resources Conservation Service protect a sustainable cattle and haying ranch as well as outstanding wetland, riparian, and meadow habitat for many mammal, plant and special status bird species including Greater Sandhill Crane, Yellow Warbler, Golden Eagle, White-faced Ibis, and Redhead. More...
December 2010 - With incredible support from community members and partners, FRLT purchased a conservation easement to protect the 318-acre Pearce Family Ranch. It is FRLT's first easement in Indian Valley and protects the oldest working family ranch in Plumas County. The conservation easement will enable the 6th generation to continue ranching and stewarding the land, as well as protect scenic open space, educational access for local schoolchildren, and important natural habitat. More…
2007 - The conservation easement on the 160-acre property protects a diversity of habitats, including sagebrush, bitterbrush, juniper, eastside pine, montane riparian, and one of the largest stands of mountain mahogany in the Feather River Watershed. Dr. Balderston's property contains key migratory and wintering habitat for the Truckee-Loyalton Deer Herd and supports a diverse assemblage of native breeding bird species including Lewis's Woodpecker, Bald Eagle, Golden Eagle and Red-tailed Hawk.
December 2005 - The 1,360-acre Trosi Canyon Ranch provides key migratory and wintering habitat for the Doyle Deer Herd and is home to more than 100 bird species. FRLT, working in partnership with the Sierra Business Council, the California Wildlife Conservation Board, and landowner Alfred Gassiot, completed a conservation easement on the ranch.
December 2003 - FRLT completed its first conservation easement, protecting the Balderston Ranch in Sierra Valley forever. The 1,360-acre Balderston Ranch (formerly the Lombardi Ranch and now owned by the Harris Family) is home to more than 140 bird species including the bald eagle, golden eagle and Swainson's Hawk and is the migration corridor for the Loyalton-Truckee Deer Herd.
Lands Conserved as Outdoor Classrooms
Learning Landscapes is FRLT’s conservation and education program designed to greatly enhance children’s contact with the natural world, place-based learning, and hands-on stewardship experiences.
In partnership with generous landowners and public school districts, we are conserving natural areas as “outdoor classrooms” within a 10-minute walk of every public school in the Feather River Watershed and supporting their educational use. Learn more about Learning Landscapes.
Lands We’ve Helped Partners Protect
High above Indian Valley at 6,800 feet, just below the historic Kettle Rock lookout is the spectacular Taylor Lake, considered sacred by the Mountain Maidu. When The Nature Conservancy (TNC) partnered with FRLT to purchase the Heart K in 2004, the sale included 80 acres of Taylor Lake and its shoreline. When FRLT purchased the Heart K in 2006, Taylor Lake remained in TNC’s ownership. The Feather River Land Trust is assisting in negotiations for a land exchange in which Taylor Lake would become public land managed by the Plumas National Forest. If successful, transferring Taylor Lake to the Plumas National Forest will improve long term land management and protection of the lake’s spectacular scenery, recreational access, natural resources, and sacred cultural uses.
The 480-acre Babbit Peak Property south of Sierra Valley is sacred land to the Washoe Indian Tribe and home to extensive aspen stands and diverse wildlife including northern goshawks and black bears. FRLT helped acquire this conservation easement in partnership with The Nature Conservancy.
The first conservation easement ever completed in Plumas County protected the 13,120-acre Bar One Ranch in Sierra Valley. FRLT worked in partnership with The Nature Conservancy, the Sierra Business Council and the California Rangeland Trust to acquire this easement, which is currently held by the California Rangeland Trust. The Bar One's conservation easement protects critical winter range for the Loyalton-Truckee deer herd and is key raptor habitat for a variety of bird species. The easement also provides for protection and restoration of the seasonal wetlands and restoration of perennial riparian vegetation along Smithneck Creek.
The 1,030-acre Matley Ranch along Upper Last Chance Creek was protected. The ranch's beautiful, high mountain meadows are home to diverse wildlife and plant species, and provide key habitat for the Doyle Deer herd, mountain lions and black bears. FRLT helped acquire the property in partnership with The Nature Conservancy. FRLT’s Stewardship Program currently assists TNC in managing the property.
The 450-acre Ranz Property along Little Truckee River is home to rare species such as the endangered willow flycatcher and the mountain yellow-legged frog. Working in partnership, FRLT helped conserve the Ranz property with a conservation easement, held by The Nature Conservancy.