Friday, 10 July 2015 22:46

Help Raise Funds to Protect the Headwaters of the Middle Fork American

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Help Raise Funds to Protect the Headwaters of the Middle Fork American Photo Courtesy - Paul Cockrell Photography

The American River Conservancy, ARC, is campaigning to permanently protect over 10,000 acres of headwaters land, and add up to 3,055 acres to the Granite Chief Wilderness. The lands to be acquired have extraordinary resource value including the Middle Fork American River, Talbot Creek, Rice Creek, and Dolly Creek. Collectively, these streams provide a highly productive nursery for rainbow trout, producing over 4,200 young-of-the-year trout per mile!

The El Dorado Chapter of Trout Unlimited wants to help this important cause. The ARC are currently $750,000 from their goal to acquire the properties. A donor has offered a $1,000 challenge to the chapter and will match our donations up to $1,000. Please help by sending a donation before July 31.

Please make checks payable to Trout Unlimited and send them to Trout Unlimited, P.O. Box 1605, Placerville, CA 95667 before July 31.

Information on the project and its location can be found at:

The Granite Chief Wilderness Campaign
Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What are the Specific Goals of the Campaign?
    • Purchase 10,115 acres of land immediately north and west of the existing Granite Chief Wilderness from a logging company and protect the natural, cultural and wilderness values. Approximately 5,000 acres of this purchased land is currently adjacent to the Granite Chief Wilderness. Under Section 6(a) of the Federal Wilderness Act of 1964, lands DONATED to the Forest Service that are adjacent to the wilderness and meet wilderness standards can be included as wilderness (provided Congress does not object within 60 days of being notified). The balance of the acreage would undergo a restoration process with the elimination of logging roads and stream crossings where the absence of other recorded access easements allow for this road elimination. We believe that some portion of this remaining balance could be added to the Granite Chief Wilderness at a later date through congressional legislation.
    • Enhance mountain meadow habitat and native trout streams by eliminating sources of erosion and sedimentation and the introduction of invasive plant and animal species;
    • Protect the headwaters of the North and Middle Forks of the American River, a source of domestic water distributed to 2/3rds of California.
  2. What is the threat that makes this acquisition necessary?
    • Logging high elevation forests is accomplished by development of logging roads and stream crossings. These roads increase soil erosion and sedimentation of mountain meadows and native trout streams. Additionally, recreational vehicles trespass these roads increasing erosion, impacting native wildlife and introduce invasive weed species.
  3. Why is the American River Conservancy coordinating this project?
    • The American River Conservancy (ARC) is the only local, non-profit conservation organization with the fundraising capacity, restoration experience and motivational drive to complete this Granite Chief Wilderness Campaign. Over the past 25 years ARC has raised $80 million to complete 78 conservation and restoration projects within the American and Cosumnes River watersheds. ARC has received service awards from the Tahoe National Forest, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Bureau of Land Management, El Dorado County Board of Supervisors, El Dorado County Chamber of Commerce, Friends of the River and the Sierra Business Council.
  4. Why isn’t the Tahoe National Forest using federal funds to acquire this property?
    • Section 6(a) of the Federal Wilderness Act of 1964 allows the addition of those lands to wilderness areas which: (a) meet wilderness criteria; (b) were purchased with non-federal funding, (c) donated to the National Forest. Only under these circumstances can the Tahoe National Forest administratively append the subject acreage to the Granite Chief Wilderness with simple notification to Congress. It is in the project’s best interest to have the largest number of donors possible for the purpose of showing popular support.
  5. What is the project budget for the Granite Chief Wilderness Campaign? The total project budget for the Granite Chief Wilderness Campaign is $11 million. The American River Conservancy recently acquired 160 acres immediately west of the Granite Chief Wilderness (southeast quarter of Section 12).
    • The appraised timber and land value of these 160 acres was appraised at $1,000 per acre. We expect the remaining 10,000 acres will be appraised at the same value. Consequently, $10 million of the total project budget is dedicated to the acquisition of these 10,000 acres. An additional $500,000 is budgeted for the elimination of (existing logging roads and prevention of recreational vehicle trespass. Another $500,000 is budgeted to cover the direct costs of project acquisition and the interim management of acquired lands.
    • Total Granite Chief Wilderness Campaign Budget . . . $11,000,000
    • Purchase price equal to the estimated appraised, fair market value (91%) . . . $10,000,000
    • Restoration expense for the elimination of logging roads and trespass (4.5%) . . . $ 500,000
    • Direct costs of fundraising, project acquisition and land management (4.5%) . . . $ 500,000
  6. How will my donation be recognized?
    • All donations will be recognized with a letter and receipt acknowledging the donation to the Granite Chief Wilderness Campaign. Donations of $1,000 and above will be recognized with a framed 8” x 10” photo of the Granite Chief Wilderness and plaque personally recognizing each individual donor.
  7. What happens to my donation if the American River Conservancy fails to acquire the property?
    • If, for any reason, the American River Conservancy fails to acquire the subject property within a two year period then 100% of the donation will be returned to the donor. The American River Conservancy will provide donors with frequent project updates by email or regular mail upon request.
  8. How can I be of further help to the Granite Chief Wilderness Campaign?
    • Request an emailed version of this information packet by contacting Julie Andert at the American River Conservancy at . Forward this email to as many friends, family members and associates as you can. Project updates can be found on the ARC’s website at: or on Facebook at
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