Wilderness Land Trust Purchases 640-acre Inholding in California's Yolla Bolly-Middle Eel Wilderness

Wilderness Land Trust Purchases 640-acre Inholding in California's Yolla Bolly-Middle Eel Wilderness

Nov. 29, 2010

The Wilderness Land Trust recently purchased a 640-acre private inholding to the Yolla Bolly-Middle Eel Wilderness, located in Northern California between US 101 and Interstate 5 in the Mendocino National Forest.  Purchase of this property gives the Trust the opportunity to eliminate private motorized access to over 6 miles of road through the Wilderness and to prevent future private, active uses on the site (which contains a house and surrounding outbuildings and several developed ponds).  The rare summer water combined with the remote motorized access road currently increases the threat of illegal marijuana farming in the Wilderness.


The Jacobson private inholding is one of the largest and last private inholdings in the Yolla Bolly-Middle Eel Wilderness Area.  The Yolla Bolly contains very rugged country with plentiful bear and deer habitat.  This private Wilderness inholding sits at the top of Leech Lake Mountain, feeding the watershed of the Wild and Scenic Middle Fork of the Eel River and supporting habitat for endangered steelhead trout. 


“We are proud to create the opportunity to return this property back to its wilderness values, to protect the surrounding Wilderness as a refuge where ‘man is a visitor and shall not remain’, and to provide wildlife a place to thrive during dynamic climate change,” said Aimee Rutledge, California Program Manager.  “We look forward to working with the Mendocino National Forest and the community to facilitate the future transfer of this property to the US Forest Service for permanent protection.“


The US Forest Service, Mendocino National Forest manages the section of the Yolla Bolly-Middle Eel Wilderness containing the Leech Lake Property. 


“We are excited that the Wilderness Land Trust was able to purchase this property. The Mendocino National Forest looks forward to continuing to work with the Wilderness Land Trust to ultimately bring this property into the National Forest System for the benefit and enjoyment of future generations,” said Tom Contreras, Forest Supervisor of the Mendocino National Forest. 


Yolla Bolly-Middle Eel Wilderness

The part of the Yolla Bolly-Middle Eel Wilderness surrounding the Leech Lake Mountain property was added in 2006.  Between the North and South Yolla Bolly Mountains, this Wilderness now contains 181,510 acres of rugged headwater country of the Wild and Scenic Middle Fork of the Eel River which provides habitat for steelhead trout.  Important for species adapting to climate change, it contains a wide range of elevation from 2,700 to 8,000 feet.  Chamise and manzanita in the lower elevations give way to dense arrays of pine and fir cloaking numerous ridges.  The Middle Eel river crashes wildly through the Wilderness in a deep canyon for approximately six miles, and, combined with sections of the 48 miles of river outside the Wilderness, forms what is arguably California's finest long white-water run. Vast grasslands open many of the steep hillsides. Summer wildflowers dramatically color large mountain meadows. Bear and deer populate the area in relative abundance.  Most of the Wilderness stands on national forestland, but a section on the western side (7,100 acres) is situated on Bureau of Land Management land.


The US Forest Service-Mendocino National Forest

Straddling the eastern spur of the Coastal Mountain Range in northwestern California, the 913,000 acre Mendocino National Forest is the only National Forest in California not crossed by a paved road or highway. Four Wilderness Areas cover approximately one third of the Forest, providing visitors with a multitude of opportunities to get out and enjoy the solitude of this spectacular and diverse region of California.   More information regarding opportunities to enjoy the Mendocino National Forest may be found at www.fs.fed.us/r5/mendocino.


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Yolla Bolly-Middle Eel Property-640 acres