People who cherish the outdoors typically love to find new sources for inspiration whether in joy of a walk through the hills and woods, snapping photos or even hauling out the painting works. California is a gold mine of natural beauty from the shores to the mountains where artists and nature lovers find abundant wonders to appreciate. There are few accredited land trusts in California so we are double blessed to have the Placer Land Trust which focuses on protecting open space in Placer County. The Placer Land Trust works with willing landowners and donors to help preserve natural and agricultural lands in Placer County for us and our future generations. They also offer access to lands that are not open to the public. Interested artists and hikers can register for a number of special outings that typically start in late March and run through June each year.
Artists can find the available Placer Land Trust Plein Air Outings at the Natural Wonders Forever webpage here. The various outings will offer views of native oak woodlands, creeks, hills, granite outcroppings, valley grasslands, vernal pools, ponds, and rivers, wildflowers, cottonwoods, working cattle ranches, sierra vistas and more. It’s a treasure trove of nature and agricultural lands. As of 2011 the trust has preserved over 7,000 acres of Placer land that include natural areas, family farms, wildlife habitat, river and canyon lands, working ranches, and public parks and trails.
These artist outings as well as the Treasured Landscape Hikes and Docent Led Hikes are a rare opportunity to enjoy and perhaps record some of our regional wonders not normally accessible. The plein air outings and hikes fill up each year so early registration is recommended. There is no fee for the artist designed outings but donations are always welcomed. The Treasured Landscape Tours are $20 and include lunch and a guided hike. These hikes coincide with the plein air outings. The Docent Led Hikes are free but a $10 donation is suggested. Artists who would also like to show their work have an opportunity to submit work featuring the Placer lands to the Blue Line Gallery/Roseville Arts for their Natural Wonders Forever exhibit.
Placer Land Trust uses donations to preserve as well as work to enhance the public value of the trust properties by “restoring wildlife habitat, controlling non-native invasive weeds, reducing fuel loads, [and] improving public access….” Their mission is beyond noble; it’s necessary and essential to insuring these gems of California continue to thrive and be preserved in a manner that protects their continued existence. According to Placer Land Trust, they “lead the region in the permanent protection of Placer County’s natural wonders and rural quality of life… [and] envision a future in which land conservation grows along with population growth and development, creating and maintaining a healthy environment, economy and quality of life for future generations.”
Six artist and hikers outings are usually offered annually and run from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. You can read more or sign up here or contact Placer Land Trust community relations manager, Karrie Thomas, by phone (530) 887-9222 or email (Karrie@Placerlandtrust.org). The four mile long docent hikes take place on the 2nd Saturday of every month, alternating between Harvego Bear River Preserve and our Big Hill Preserves. Winter and spring hikes begin at 9:00 and end around noon. You can sign up or read more about the docent led preserve hikes here.
Please see the slideshow above for a beautiful photograph of Blue Oak by Loren Clark and some quick snapshots of Placer area lands.