The environmental groups — once vilified by the now-diminished CABPRO and far-right political and land-use extremists going back to the days of NH 2020 — are proving to be heightened community leaders, generating attention throughout Northern California.
“Sierra Watch is delighted to join the Northern Sierra Partnership in announcing the best of all possible outcomes for Donner Summit: it’s saved!,” the Nevada City-based nonprofit said. “As you can see in the release, the Trust for Public Land and the Truckee Donner Land Trust have entered into an agreement to purchase – and permanently protect – the entire 3,000-acre Royal Gorge property on Donner Summit.”
Former County Supervisor Peter Van Zant is the field director of SierraWatch. The group’s board members include Bill Newsom, trust administrator for the Getty Family Trust and former associate justice of the California Court of Appeals.SYRCL’s new leader is Caleb Dardick, who grew up on the San Juan Ridge and is the son of former County Supervisor and disability rights activist Sam Dardick. SYRCL is a leading voice for protection and restoration of the Yuba River.
The deal to “Save Donner Summit” comes after Sierra Watch and SYRCL helped score other big conservation wins this year:
•Bear River Dam. The South Sutter Water District voted to stop pursuing a new dam on the Bear River, effectively ending a statewide struggle between Sierra conservationists and Southern California water providers.
The controversy centered on the Garden Bar region of the Bear River. Distant water interests saw a potential location to impound water for delivery hundreds of miles south. But conservationists effectively stood up for the area’s prized cultural and biological values.
•Save Yuba River State Park. The South Yuba River Citizens League (SYRCL) was instrumental in keeping the South Yuba River and Malakoff Diggins State Parks open, collaborating with other community groups.
“This past February, the Nevada County Board of Supervisors, with support from the South Yuba River Citizens League and others, gave unanimous support to a State Parks’ Revenue Generation Parking Plan to help remove the park from the statewide closure list.
The actions signal continued political transition in our County to “purple” politics — a mix of liberals and conservatives — in many instances working together.
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