The Wilderness Land Trust Protects Access to California's Thornburg Canyon Trail

The Wilderness Land Trust Protects Access to California's Thornburg Canyon Trail

Jun. 19, 2012

The Thornburg Canyon Trail travels over eight miles point to point from Blue Lakes Road at 9,000 feet to the quaint mountain town of Markleeville, CA at 5,500 feet.  Along the way, trail users are dazzled by panoramic views of the Mokelumne Wilderness in the Carson Pass and Hope Valley areas, and pass through old growth forest and wet meadows.  The Wilderness Land Trust has acquired the last remaining 160-acre private inholding that could have blocked access to this trail.   The purchase of this property builds on another Wilderness Land Trust purchase in 2009 and protects one of the last private inholdings in the 99,000 acre Mokelumne Wilderness.  It helps protect the headwaters of the Carson River, a lifeline for resident wildlife and people.


Located just south of Lake Tahoe, high above the Hope Valley, the property offers dramatic views to the surrounding Mokelumne Wilderness and its unique mountain formations, including Jeff Davis Peak, Markleeville Peak, Round Top and many others.


Jeff Davis Creek and the wet meadow on the property provide diverse habitat for wildlife and a beautiful scene for outdoor enthusiasts.  The creek flows to the Carson River.


The Wilderness Land Trust worked for almost two years to secure the property.  WLT is now working to transfer it to the US Forest Service, Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, which along with the El Dorado National Forest, oversees the Mokelumne Wilderness.


“The land is one of only two properties within the Humboldt-Toiyabe Forest area of the Mokelumne wilderness to remain in private ownership,” said Aimee Rutledge, the land trust’s California Program Manager. “Private uses inconsistent with wilderness would have despoiled an unbroken expanse of wilderness and could have blocked public access to the Thornburg Canyon trail.”


The area includes many miles of popular trails including a segment of the Pacific Crest Trail and the Tahoe Rim Trail, and offers hiking, horseback riding, backpacking, fishing, birding, snowshoeing and cross country skiing.


“We are proud to help complete the Mokelumne Wilderness for future generations, ensuring that ‘man is a visitor and shall not remain,’ a goal of the 1964 Wilderness Act,” said Reid Haughey, president of The Wilderness Land Trust.

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The black arrow indicates the Jeff Davis Creek Inholding recently acquired. 

The 20 acre Hawley property is a 2011 acquisition completed by the Trust.