“The Land Trust donates an easement! That sounds unusual,” said Doug Parker, CEO of the Land Trust. “We usually receive easement donations from generous landowners in order to permanently protect land. But in this case, it actually makes sense and is aimed at the same purpose – permanent protection.”
The Land Trust owns 175 acres at the Linda Falls Preserve, along Conn Creek. In this transaction, which closed this week, the Land Trust donated an easement over the property to the Napa County Open Space District. The easement is aimed at further ensuring permanent protection. “This creates a double layer of protection and is actually best conservation practice,” says Parker, “which has been successfully implemented elsewhere.”
If anything should ever happen to either organization, the property interest owned by the other organization will ensure ongoing protection of the land and its conservation values over the long-term.
“This is the beginning of an important new dimension in our partnership,” said John Woodbury, General Manager of the Open Space District. “We expect to do a number of similar projects at other sites owned by the Land Trust. And the Open Space District also plans to donate easements over its land to the Land Trust.”
The Linda Falls Preserve is 175 acres in the Conn Creek watershed and includes significant streamside habitat. Conn Creek is a perennial tributary of the Napa River and is one of the primary sources of water for Lake Hennessey, the main source of drinking water for the City of Napa.
The transaction is seen as a way for the two organizations to protect watersheds county-wide. “This is a good example of what we hope to accomplish together with Measure Z”, said Doug Parker. “We can protect areas that are important to key watersheds and city water supplies and by having two entities own an interest, we can further ensure that Measure Z funds will be spent to protect these lands permanently.”
The Linda Falls Preserve is owned by the Land Trust thanks to the generous donations of Edward Van Egri, Heitz Wine Cellars and Harmon Frohmuth. Over several transactions and a number of years, the three landowners donated their portion of the Linda Falls property, creating what is now a Land Trust preserve with coniferous forest land, hiking trails and rare native plants.
“Linda Falls is an exceptional piece of protected land, not only for the natural beauty, but its resource value as well,” said John Woodbury, “Ensuring the protection of the Conn Creek watershed protects these values and ensures the protection of Lake Hennessey’s water supply as well.”
Linda Falls now has an extra layer of protection thanks to a partnership between Land Trust of Napa County and the Napa County Regional Parks and Open Space District.