The Campaign to Conserve Frog Lake, Red Mountain & Carpenter Ridge
Connecting our Wild Landscapes
For the past decade, the partner organizations of the Northern Sierra Partnership have been working to protect and connect the wild landscapes of the northern Sierra Nevada. Nowhere has this effort been more successful than at the headwaters of the Little Truckee River and Prosser Creek, where the partners have conserved Independence Lake, Webber Lake, Perazzo Meadows, and Lower Carpenter Valley, among many other properties.
This campaign is the critical next step. The acquisition of Frog Lake, Red Mountain and Carpenter Ridge will link the majestic high country of Castle Peak to the wildlands surrounding Carpenter Valley and Independence Lake. It will protect the ecologically rich headwaters of Prosser Creek and the Little Truckee River. It will ensure that large mammals can roam freely across the landscape. And it will create new opportunities for the public to explore and enjoy the stunning backcountry of the northern Sierra.
This is an historic moment for the Northern Sierra Partnership, and for the Sierra Nevada. With your help, we can and will transform the map of our region and protect, intact and forever, one of the great landscapes of California. Please lend your shoulder to the wheel. We can’t do it without you.
Wildlands Rich in Biodiversity
The acquisition of Frog Lake, Red Mountain and Carpenter Ridge will conserve 2,914 acres of important habitat in the Prosser Creek and Little Truckee River watersheds, recently ranked by The Nature Conservancy as among the highest biodiversity watersheds in the Sierra Nevada. The acquisition includes a spectacular subalpine lake, mixed conifer forest, aspen groves, and extensive creeks, as well as open slopes with windswept thickets of mountain mahogany, wax currant and wild gooseberry. In addition, springs and seeps on the lands being acquired flow into sensitive fens in Carpenter Valley, home to unique botanical species including carnivorous plants like the Long leaved sundew and Lesser bladderwort.
The acquisition will significantly enhance habitat connectivity between the Castle Peak Roadless Area, Sagehen Basin, Independence Lake and Henness Pass, providing unimpaired passage to wildlife with large home ranges like black bear, American badger, wolverine, American marten, and the recently documented gray wolf. The Loyalton-Truckee deer herd also forages and fawns on the forested slopes above Euer Valley and Carpenter Valley. Protecting areas of contiguous habitat allows species to migrate with the seasons and in response to climate change.
Forested watersheds in the Sierra Nevada are vital resources for communities across California and western Nevada, providing more than half of the water needed for human uses. How those watersheds are managed directly impacts downstream communities.
In 2015, The Nature Conservancy reviewed strategies to improve water quality in the Truckee River. In the Middle Truckee watershed, the Conservancy identified land conservation and dirt road restoration as the two most cost-effective strategies. Land conservation protects land from development and disturbance, reducing erosion and sediment impacts on streams. Repairing or removing poorly designed dirt roads has similar beneficial effects, including reducing water treatment costs for downstream utilities.
The Conservancy’s research indicates that approximately half of the land currently being acquired would be a high conservation priority for reasons of water quality alone. Development or commercial logging of these steep slopes would likely degrade water quality, in addition to posing an immediate threat to the ecologically sensitive fens in Carpenter Valley.
A Backcountry Paraside
In addition to protecting critical ecological values, the acquisition of Frog Lake, Red Mountain and Carpenter Ridge is a remarkable opportunity to enhance outdoor recreation in the northern Sierra. The partners plan to build a magnificent new trail, branching from the existing Warren Lake Trail, to connect Castle Peak, Frog Lake, Red Mountain, Lower Carpenter Valley and Independence Lake. Open for non-motorized uses, the trail will enable visitors to experience the jaw-dropping beauty of this landscape as a physically intact and unified whole.
As part of the partners’ vision for year-round recreation, the Truckee Donner Land Trust plans to create a small network of mountain huts so visitors can enjoy the backcountry of the northern Sierra in all seasons. Perched in a glaciated bowl east of Castle Peak, the historic stone cabin and outbuildings at Frog Lake will serve as the hub of that hut network, which will also include a yurt in Carpenter Valley.
This exciting recreational vision is within reach today because the NSP partners have protected so much of the surrounding landscape over the past decade. We would like to take this opportunity to thank the many individuals, foundations and public agencies whose commitment to the Sierra have made this astounding conservation progress possible. We could never have done it without you!
We invite you to help us conserve the exceptional ecological and recreational values of Frog Lake, Red Mountain and Carpenter Ridge properties by making a tax-deductible donation today. Gifts of cash or stock are welcome and may be pledged over a period of two years, provided that all gifts are received by the end of February 2020. Contributions should be made payable to Community Initiatives/NSP and sent to:
Northern Sierra Partnership
C/O: Community Initiatives
1000 Broadway, Suite 480
Oakland, CA 94607
Your donation is 100% tax-deductible to the full extent of the law. For tax purposes, you will receive a receipt for your contribution from Community Initiatives the 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation that serves as fiscal sponsor for the Northern Sierra Partnership.
For information on pledges, gifts of stock, or honorary and memorial gifts, please contact Levi Miller, NSP Campaign Director at (650) 323-2050.
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