About Mountain Meadows
Protecting vital natural and cultural resources
- 7,058 acres above Lake Almanor, near Westwood
- Protected by Conservation Easement in 2018
- Protected for: Water, Climate resilience, Wildlife, Maidu homelands, Recreation
- Rare or threatened species: 22
- Landowner: Pacific Gas & Electric Company
Water & Natural Resources
Cradled between the Sierra and the Cascade ranges at an elevation of 5,000 feet, the Mountain Meadows Basin forms the headwaters of the Hamilton Branch of the North Fork Feather River, above Lake Almanor. Mountain Meadows Reservoir (also known as Walker Lake) is a 100+ year old scenic reservoir fringed with marsh, meadowlands, and forest. The 7,058-acre property is a rich ecosystem nourished by the reservoir and multiple spring-fed creeks—including a 5 mile reach of Hamilton Branch—that provides climate-resilient habitat for a diverse array of life.
Photo by Betty Bishop
Photo by Jessica Murgia-Compton
Photo by Betty Bishop
Photo by Colby Elliott
Flora & Fauna
Mountain Meadows is within the Pacific Flyway and is part of the Audubon-designated Lake Almanor Important Bird Area, supporting thousands of waterfowl and shorebirds each year. It provides habitat for 22 rare or threatened species including:
- Greater Sandhill Crane, Western and Clark’s Grebe, Willow Flycatcher, Bald Eagle, Osprey, Black Tern, and American White Pelican
- Mammals like Pacific Fisher
- Rare plants like Tall Alpine-aster
The Hamilton Branch of the North Fork Feather River supports a popular fishery of native-born and planted trout.
Culture & History
Mountain Meadows is an integral part of the creation story of the Mountain Maidu people. The Maidu have continuously practiced their unique cultural traditions in the region including land stewardship for ecological health, medicines, and other life-giving resources for thousands of years. The conservation easement protects important historical cultural resources, as well as ongoing gathering and ceremony.
Working together to protect Mountain Meadows
The Mountain Meadows property is owned and managed by Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E). The conservation easement FRLT holds ensures that the property will not be subdivided or developed in the future. Mountain Meadows was conserved in partnership with the Pacific Forest & Watershed Lands Stewardship Council, PG&E, and Mountain Meadows Conservancy, with support from the Bella Vista Foundation, Firedoll Foundation, Mellam Family Foundation, Morgan Family Foundation, Northern Sierra Partnership, and FRLT members.
The Mountain Meadows conservation easement is part of a larger effort to conserve 43,000+ acres of PG&E watershed lands in the Almanor Basin/North Fork Feather River region. It is the first of nine conservation easements that FRLT will hold on PG&E lands. It represents 16+ years of work to establish a mechanism to conserve these key watershed lands for public benefit.
Now, more than ever, we need your support
Help us protect critical Feather River headwaters and habitats
Stewardship of Mountain Meadows
Mountain Meadows is owned and managed by Pacific Gas & Electric Company. As the conservation easement holder, FRLT meets with PG&E annually about management plans and potential impacts on its special resources, and visits the property to monitor that the terms of the easement are being upheld.
Recreation & Access
Mountain Meadows offers wonderful 4-season recreation opportunities like kayaking/canoeing and birding, fishing and hunting, ice skating and cross-country skiing, and photography. Public access is at the boating ramp at Indian Ole Dam, via Indian Ole Road, which is accessible from County Road A21, approximately 1.5 miles west of Westwood. Mountain Meadows also has walking access from the town of Westwood through FRLT’s recently purchased and conserved Mountain Meadows Gateway Preserve.
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Lake Almanor Region Properties Conserved
Maidu CemeteryConservation Focus
Home RanchConservation Focus
Maidu WetlandsConservation Focus
Butt Valley ReservoirConservation Focus
Maidu TrailConservation Focus
Maidu ForestConservation Focus
Tásmam Koyóm (Humbug Valley)Conservation Focus
Mountain Meadows ReservoirConservation Focus
Mountain Meadows Gateway PreserveConservation Focus
Olsen Barn MeadowConservation Focus
Mountain Meadows Reservoir is my favorite little slice of paradise next to Westwood. I feel extremely fortunate to have access for photography and other recreation.
—Jessica Murgia-Compton, FRLT member
You Can Count On Us
As a nationally accredited land trust, we are built to last. We leverage your donations with state, federal, and foundation dollars and strategic partnerships to achieve the greatest possible impact for the lands, waters, and people of the Feather River region. You can count on us to make careful and effective use of your support.
More Stories from FRLT
June 3 | Trail Stewardship Day at Mountain Meadows Reservoir
Join us for National Trail Day at FRLT-conserved Mountain Meadows Reservoir for a hands-on event.
Wildlife and Fire
Sierra Nevada wildlife biologists, Paul Hardy and Ryan Burnett, share the impacts of wildfire on native wildlife species.
February 17 | Birthday Ski and Snowshoe at Olsen Barn Meadow
Come celebrate FRLT's 23rd birthday with us with a ski and snowshoe at Olsen Barn Meadow in Chester.
2022 Conservation Successes
Take a look back at 2022 with us and celebrate the successes made possible by our supporters. It was a fulfilling year of community, collaboration, and conservation success!
FRLT Preserve Coloring Pages
Our 2022 Solstice gift to you - coloring pages of three of our preserves, illustrated by an FRLT staff member.
Church Ranch Conservation Story
The 653-acre Church Ranch has been worked by the Church family for five generations. The property is a piece of agricultural history and its wet meadow and forest habitats support a diversity of wildlife.
Why Meadows Matter
The Feather River Watershed is home to some of the largest wetlands and montane meadows in California and FRLT is on a mission to conserve them.
Fire Recovery Progress Update
In 2022, we're one year into our three-year fire recovery initiative to mitigate the damage on 57,000 acres of FRLT-owned or conserved lands from the Dixie and Beckwourth Complex fires.
A new nature center at the Sierra Valley Preserve
A new Preserve headquarters and nature center is planned where visitors and locals alike can experience the wonders of Sierra Valley and deepen our understanding of the natural world and our place in it.