Government agency consolidates holdings inside Tahoe National Forest

TRUCKEE, Calif. (AP) -- More than 1,200 scenic acres in the Sierra Nevada mountains around Truckee, including a spectacular waterfall, have been purchased by the U.S. Forest Service.

The property, described as valuable for recreation and wildlife, was obtained through four separate transactions totaling $3 million.

The purchases were part of an ongoing Forest Service effort to acquire portions of 350,000 acres of private property in a checkerboard pattern within the 1.2 million-acre Tahoe National Forest.

"It's a small step, but it's a significant step," Fran Herbst, lands manager for the national forest, told the Reno (Nev.) Gazette-Journal.

Webber Falls, which features several terraced pools, was acquired through a purchase of 480 acres from Sierra Pacific Industries. The land is located along the Little Truckee River about 15 miles northwest of Truckee.

Also purchased were Pierce Meadows among 160 acres near Eagle Lakes west of Truckee, and English Mountain near Jackson Meadows Reservoir among 160 acres north of Truckee.

More than 415 acres along the Rubicon River near Lake Tahoe also were acquired, with 270 acres within Granite Chief Wilderness. The same deal put another 406 acres into Eldorado National Forest to the south.

"These are really high-resource-value lands," Herbst said. "We're excited about them."

Some of the land, particularly Pierce Meadows, could have been privately developed and now will remain protected, he added.

The transactions were financed through private donations and a public fund tapping fees from offshore oil drilling.

The Trust for Public Land played key roles in the Webber Falls, Rubicon River and English Mountain transactions.

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