A Visit to Pomo Lands

December 3, 2020

Recently, Mendocino Land Trust staff members Nicolet Houtz and Monika Richardson met with Salvador Rosales, Chairman of the Potter Valley Tribe. The meeting site was along Trout Creek, just outside Potter Valley. They were there to complete the annual monitoring visit for a conservation easement, but in reality, the goals were much greater than that.

They walked together and admired the leaves changing color. As they walked, Sal gathered fallen black oak acorns into a burlap sack. The acorns were some of the largest he’d ever seen. He planned to share the acorns with tribe members.

The trio followed a long-abandoned utility road down the side of a steep slope. Sal outlined his vision of setting up a site for tribal retreats or campouts. Nikki and Monika discussed ways MLT can assist with the logistics of this project and ensure that all efforts are in keeping with the conservation easement. All parties agreed this would be a fantastic use of the magical spot. How wonderful that conservation easements helped restore ownership and use of tribal lands to descendants of those who were the ancestral stewards of this area!

Before MLT and the Potter Valley Tribe succeeded in their efforts to permanently conserve this area, property rights to the land belonged to PG&E. As part of a bankruptcy settlement in the early 2000s, these lands were to be donated to the Potter Valley Tribe. After decades of work, this project came to completion in July 2019, with MLT providing a conservation easement to preserve these lands in perpetuity.

The Mendocino Land Trust has been a leader in land conservation, stewardship and habitat restoration in Mendocino County for more than 40 years. Since 1976, the Land Trust has worked with willing landowners to protect more than 15,000 acres of forests, wildlife habitat and agricultural lands in Mendocino County. 

The Mendocino Land Trust looks forward to continuing to partner with members of the Potter Valley Tribe to help them conserve and enjoy this restored homeland.