Thursday, July 29, 2010

Pristine Sierra Lake Saved From Developers

Years of rumors, threats and intrigue over a little-known Sierra gem, Independence Lake near Truckee, ended last week when the Nature Conservancy closed a $15 million deal to purchase the lake and nearly 2,500 forested acres that surround it.

The result is that the Nature Conservancy will preserve public access, rebuild facilities, and probably develop a walk-in campground.

In the 1980s, the Disney Corporation attempted to buy the lake and convert it into a gated, high-end condo development. More recently, in a little-known saga, a Silicon Valley billionaire tried to add it to his personal empire for $22 million. Shortly after, the Nature Conservancy stepped in to reach a deal with Sierra Pacific Power Company.

The lake has some of the largest brown trout in California, in the 20-pound class, along with 10- to 15-pound cutthroat trout, and is home to one of the world's last two wild populations of Lahontan cutthroat in lakes. In addition, believe it or not, several people have reported sighting a ghost wearing a plaid shirt at the window of a former caretaker's home at the entrance to the lake.

Independence Lake is a deep azure jewel, 2.4 miles long at an altitude of 6,949 feet, nestled in a Sierra canyon north of Truckee. There are no signs to the lake, and it is just remote enough via dirt roads that it can be difficult to find.

The biggest point of contention - the conservancy will not allow motors on boats - has broken a few hearts of anglers who have fished for the lake's elusive giant trout. Though the gate at the small dirt ramp appeared to be opened or locked at random over the years, some Truckee residents have fished the lake with small boats and motors for generations.

"This is our way to prevent or greatly reduce introduction of invasive aquatic species, especially quagga and zebra mussels," said Michael Conner of the Nature Conservancy. "With no motors, you also get a nice serene lake.

"We learned that there are very few Sierra lakes where you can drive up and not hear a motorboat," Conner said. "So you will have a different experience here, quiet, just nature. We think we will serve many uses and have even a more positive user experience."

In June, the feeder creek at Independence has a natural run of cutthroat trout that heads upstream to spawn, when bears emerge from the forest to try to catch them, with bald eagles diving in to scavenge easy leftovers. It's like a scene in Alaska or Yellowstone, and there's nothing else like it in California.

JOIN THE NATURE CONSERVANCY AND HELP SUPPORT THEIR VERY IMPORTANT WORK!  http://www.nature.org/

Funding: Northern Sierra Partnership as well as the California Wildlife Conservation Board, California Resources Agency, David and Lucile Packard Foundation, California Trout, Truckee-Donner Land Trust, Trout Unlimited and U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., among others.

Tom Stienstra's Outdoors Report can be heard Saturdays on KCBS (740 and 106.9) at 7:35 a.m., 9:35 a.m. and 12:35 p.m. E-mail him at tstienstra@sfchronicle.com.

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/05/19/SP5F1DG9ES.DTL&feed=rss.tstienstra#ixzz0v6djU1VV

1 comment:

張志亦劉美玲 said...

人類的聰明,並非以經驗為依歸,而是以接受經驗的行程為依歸。..................................................