Bucks Lake Now Permanently Protected for Public Access and Recreation

The Stewardship Council, in partnership with Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) and Feather River Land Trust (FRLT), has announced the permanent protection of the PG&E-owned lands at Bucks Lake Reservoir. The 2,164 acre Bucks Lake property is located west of the town of Quincy in Plumas County. The property is owned and managed by PG&E, who donated a conservation easement to Feather River Land Trust to ensure that the scenic open space, forest, wildlife habitat, recreation, and historic and cultural values will be protected forever.

Bucks Lake and its 14 miles of shoreline are a local treasure within a scenic and largely undeveloped region. Surrounded by Plumas National Forest and near the Bucks Lake Wilderness managed by the US Forest Service, Bucks Lake offers exceptional opportunities for outdoor recreation. The conservation easement ensures continued public access and honors ongoing recreational uses on the lake and surrounding PG&E lands, including popular campgrounds and day-use areas.

The protection of the lands at Bucks Lake is part of a larger effort by the California Public Utilities Commission, PG&E, the Stewardship Council, and a variety of stakeholders to conserve 140,000 acres of PG&E watershed lands throughout California. Following the 2003 bankruptcy of PG&E, a settlement was reached with the California Public Utilities Commission known as the Land Conservation Commitment (LCC). The Land Conservation Commitment requires the permanent conservation of PG&E-owned forests, meadows, streams, and wetlands across the Sierra Nevada and Cascade ranges, to be protected for their conservation values and for the people of California.

Approximately 44,000 acres of these watershed lands are within the upper North Fork Feather River Watershed, including the lands at Bucks Lake. “PG&E is proud to partner with the Feather River Land Trust on the permanent protection of this amazing resource,” said Mike Schonherr, PG&E’s director who oversees its land conservation commitment program. “The donation of this conservation easement is another important step in PG&E’s work to permanently protect the Watershed Lands. We look forward to working with Feather River Land Trust on these and other lands.”

Rich with history, Bucks Lake was once a large meadow and is a place of importance to the Mountain Maidu people. The lake and surrounding lands sustain biodiverse communities of wildlife and plants including more than 30 threatened or endangered species. Approximately 300 acres of Sierra mixed conifers, willow and aspen groves, creeks and wet meadows across the property that will be protected.

Bucks Lake is a recreational hotspot offering lake and terrestrial outdoor experiences. In the warm months, camping, fishing, boating, swimming, picnicking, and dining at the scenic resorts are all popular activities for locals and visitors alike. Several dog-friendly trailheads start near Bucks Lake and connect to the congressionally established Pacific Crest Trail that provides a contiguous trail between the southern and northern US borders. Bucks Lake supports a popular fishery of rainbow, brook, and brown trout, and Kokanee salmon spawn each fall in Bucks Creek. Hunting is allowed per State and Federal regulations, primarily for migratory birds. At an elevation of 5,200 feet, colder months bring snow. Visitors make use of the seasonal road closures that allow for snowmobile use, as well as human-powered cross-country and back-country skiing and snowshoeing.

Executive Director of Feather River Land Trust, Shelton Douthit beamed, “Feather River Land Trust is proud to add the Bucks Lake Conservation Easement to our network of protected ecologically and culturally significant lands in the Feather River watershed. Together with our partners, we are committed to conserving the wildlife habitat, scenic open space, and the diversity of recreation activities at Bucks Lake for current and future generations.”

Feather River Land Trust, a regional land trust based in Quincy, has committed to permanently conserve PG&E’s upper Feather River Watershed Lands, including Bucks Lake, Mountain Meadows Reservoir, Humbug Valley, Butt Valley, and Lake Almanor, by accepting conservation easements for those properties. Feather River Land Trust is required to monitor the properties annually and meet with PG&E about planned management and uses at Bucks Lake and other properties to ensure that the conservation values are protected. The conservation easement will not have a direct impact on water levels or water management by PG&E, and further, under the terms of the conservation easement Feather River Land Trust will not have enforcement authority over water-related issues.

Art Baggett, the Stewardship Council’s Board President remarks, “The Stewardship Council is grateful for Feather River Land Trust’s leadership in the region, and their commitment to working with PG&E and other partners to ensure the permanent protection of these incredibly significant lands in Plumas and Lassen counties for current and future generations.”

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