BLM California News.bytes 
News.bytes Extra, issue 522

First-hand look at issues facing BLM Mother Lode Field Office 

California BLM Director Jim Kenna saw land management challenges in the Sierra foothills -- from rare plants to recreation -- on a tour of the Mother Lode Field Office last week.

The tour included rare plants and fire fuels at the Pine Hill Preserve in Cameron Park, the Wakamatsu Tea and Silk Colony project near Coloma, and recreation sites along the South Fork of the American River.

The Pine Hill Preserve is a conservation effort coordinated among 10 different agencies to protect the region's unique resources. (text continues below)

a woman speaks to a group in a clearing
Pine Hill Preserve Manager Graciela Hinshaw discusses the dual challenges of fire safety and rare plant habitat with Jim Kenna.

a group of people talk to each other in a parking lot
Mother Lode Field Office interns Julie Wynia, Lauren Fety and Sophia Weinmann give an overview of the Pine Hill Preserve to Jim Kenna.

The 4,790-acre preserve hosts 740 different plant species that account for 10 percent of California's native flora, including eight rare native plants found predominantly in western El Dorado County.

Management of the habitat for the plants is balanced with the need to provide fire protection for Cameron Park residents, so BLM has been cutting fire breaks and burning brush piles. Landowners neighboring the preserve attended the tour and talked about their cooperative efforts with BLM.

Alan Ehrgott, executive director of the American River Conservancy, led a tour of the Gold Hill Wakamatsu Tea and Silk Colony project, a 272-acre site is located near Coloma that was purchased by the American River Conservancy in 2010.

a group observes a fenced-in gravesite with headstone
Alan Ehrgott, American River Conservancy executive director, gives the history of the Wakamatsu Colony to Jim Kenna at the grave of Okei Ito, the first Japanese woman to die and be buried in America.

Wakamatsu, the first Japanese colony in North America, was settled in 1869 by Japanese colonists fleeing a civil war between samurai and rulers in Japan. The samurai introduced traditional Japanese horticulture to California, including silk worm farming and cultivation of tea and rice.

BLM Recreation Planner Jeff Horn led a hike at the Magnolia Ranch site along the South Fork American River and discussed the recreation program for the Mother Lode Field Office.

a man speaks to a group on an overlook to a river partially visible through small trees
Jeff Horn, Mother Lode Field Office recreation planner, talks about recreation at a stop above the South Fork American River with Jim Kenna...

....and goes over a trail map at the Magnolia trailhead.
a man points out features on a map to a group of people

- David Christy, BLM Central California public affairs specialist (March 13, 2012)

BLM-California News.bytes, issue 522 -- To subscribe to News.bytes, send an e-mail to: OR visit our News.bytes subscription page.