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The Placer County Board of Supervisors approved three land acquisitions Tuesday that will help accomplish a big goal: creating public access between Hidden Falls Regional Park and the Placer Land Trust’s Harvego Bear River Preserve.

At Tuesday’s meeting, board members voted unanimously to approve transactions with owners of three properties that will provide property for the missing trail links. Altogether, the county will acquire about 17.5 acres outright, an open space conservation easement on another 5.4 acres and a trail easement crossing the corner of one property. The county has agreed to pay property owners $290,600 for the three acquisitions.

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Harvego Bear River Preserve (formerly Bruin Ranch)

“Today’s actions will allow us to achieve a goal that many of us have dreamed about for years,” said Supervisor Robert M. Weygandt, a leading proponent of the county’s Placer Legacy Open Space and Agricultural Conservation Program.

“These acquisitions will provide the property for the missing links in a 47-mile network of public trails and create connections between the Bear River and thousands of acres of scenic oak woodlands conserved by Placer County and the Placer Land Trust.”

County staff also reported that the acquisitions approved by the board Tuesday will help conserve an east-west corridor used by wildlife migrating between the valley floor and the Sierra Nevada, and a north-south corridor connecting two separate watersheds through the oak woodlands. 

Ultimately a public trail between Hidden Falls and the Harvego Bear River Preserve will cross the Taylor Ranch Preserve and several other properties already protected through the conservation efforts of the county and Placer Land Trust.  

“The partnership between Placer County and Placer Land Trust demonstrates the ability of our community to come together around common goals to ensure a healthy social, economic and natural environment,” said Placer Land Trust Executive Director Jeff Darlington.  

Located in the foothills between Auburn and Lincoln, the 220-acre Hidden Falls Park opened in 2006. In May, the Park will open up another 961 acres located west of the park. The expansion will provide 23 miles of additional trails, access to another waterfall on Coon Creek and new picnic areas and rest stops.  Both properties were acquired through Placer Legacy.

The Harvego Bear River Preserve is located north of Hidden Falls just south of the Bear River, the boundary between Placer and Nevada counties. It is located in the Auburn Valley-Big Hill area west of Highway 49.
In 2010, The Trust for Public Land acquired the preserve and conveyed it to the Placer Land Trust. Placer County, the California Wildlife Conservation Board and individual donors contributed funding for the acquisition.  

Under Placer Legacy, Placer County and its partners typically purchase one of several types of conservation and trail easements or the fee title. In some cases, the county has been the lead on acquisitions and obtained the needed funding to secure a conservation easement or fee title. In other cases, organizations such as the Trust for Public Land and the Placer Land Trust have taken the lead and the county has been a funding partner.

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