Placer Land Trust opens off-limits Auburn landscapes for rare glimpse

Treasured Landscapes hike series includes Auburn hiking tours
By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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AUBURN CA - For Auburn attorney Bob Litchfield, Placer Land Trust’s Treasured Landscapes hike series totally gets one of the major reasons residents and visitors enjoy the Auburn area. “I came up here to be in this beautiful, natural environment and I love the work the land trust does,” Litchfield said. “If we lose the beauty of this place it would be a tragedy.” Litchfield said he feels the landscapes of Placer County influence residents, making them kinder and more charitable. “You can step out and walk in the woods,” Litchfield said. “It replenishes the soul.” Since its first land preservation in Placer in 1993, the land trust has conserved thousands of acres of property. That first step – Codfish Falls Trail Preserve, with the help of Protect American River Canyons (PARC) – will be commemorated Saturday when the land trust kicks off this year’s series of Treasured Landscapes hikes. PARC’s Eric Peach will be leading a guided hike to a waterfall at the Codfish Falls preserve. “We saw an opportunity to protect a stretch of river,” Peach said. “This hike will be a good one on many levels because the wildflowers will be out, and it’s a nice destination with a waterfall. The trails are beautiful this time of year.” Saturday’s hike will be from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and reservations are required through the Land Trust office at (530) 887-9222, or can be made at Cost is $20 for non-member and $15 for members. Jeff Darlington, land trust executive director, said the hikes include two Auburn-area locations normally off-limits to the public. The Oest Ranch-Lake Clementine Preserve is part of a working cattle ranch but will be opened for a hike guided by owner and ranch owner Daryl Oest on May 19. The Canyon View Preserve in Bowman, which the land trust hopes to eventually open for public hiking, will be hiked June 23. Other hikes will take visitors to Doty Ravine Preserve on April 28 and Swainsons Vernal Pools. The vernal pools visit date has yet to be announced to optimize views of wildflowers. People interested can go on a list to be contacted before that vernal pools visit starts, sometime in April. “We do have to limit the numbers,” Darlington said. “Typically, they’re well-attended or sold out.” The hike price includes a PlacerGrown-prepared lunch, Darlington said. “It gets people out and able to see the work that has been done,” Darlington said. “It’s the best way for the connection to be made on the work we do – to get your feet on the land and see how it’s protected.” Sponsors are Union Pacific Foundation, Trailscape, Whole Foods and Capital Public Radio. Treasured Landscapes hike schedule - Codfish Falls Trail Preserve March 24 - Doty Ravine Preserve April 28 - Oest Ranch-Lake Clementine Preserve May 19 - Canyon View Preserve June 23 - Swainsons Vernal Pools Tour – April. TBA two weeks before tour date