Conservation Easement: Returned Pomo Lands (Trout and Alder Creek)

The Land Trust worked with the Pacific Forest & Watershed Lands Stewardship Council to protect 873 acres of land previously owned by PG&E. Once the conservation easement was complete, the land was donated to the Potter Valley Tribe in 2019. These lands are along Trout and Alder creeks in the Eel River area east of Potter Valley, and provide tribal family members with a treasured place for cultural education and recreation.

In December 2020, Mendocino Land Trust staff members 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. All parties agreed this would be a fantastic use of the magical spot and in keeping with the parameters of the conservation easement. It is wonderful to see ownership and use of tribal lands restored 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.

We would love to work on more projects like this one!

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