Floating down through a beautiful valley on a summer day and then heading back to the ranch for a tasty barbeque, Now that’s living!
Eighteen people joined Nils Lunder, Feather River Land Trust director and other Land Trust staff, for a 4-mile kayak trip on upper Indian Creek through Genesee Valley on June 24.
The group put in at Flournoy Bridge and floated down to a takeout near the Genesee Store.
Temperatures were in the 90s, but the water was cool. In places, the group had to pull their kayaks through short stretches of willows in new channels left behind by last winter’s exceptionally high water.
Vanessa Vasquez, people and land coordinator for the land trust, stayed behind to cook for the group while others brought potluck dishes. When the group finished its kayak trip, they arrived back at historic Heart K Ranch for a meal together.
Water levels this last winter were up to nearly the height of Flournoy Bridge, eroding away a lot of mature riparian vegetation.
However, by the day of the trip, water levels were down near normal levels. In spots where high winter flows had divided the channel, the water was only a few inches deep. In other places, deep pools attracted the interest of anglers in the group.
Heart K Ranch
The 884-acre Heart K Ranch includes portions of both Genesee Valley and the surrounding mountains, including 80-acre Taylor Lake.
According to the Land Trust, “This rich variety of habitats supports a diverse animal population that includes river otters, black bears, beavers, mountain lions, golden eagles and the endangered willow flycatcher, among other special status species.”
The property also serves as an important migratory corridor, particularly for the Sloat mule deer herd that winters and breeds here.”
The Nature Conservancy bought the Heart K Ranch to protect it from subdivision.
The Land Trust then borrowed $2.6 million from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation to purchase the land from TNC, so that TNC could continue to purchase other threatened land.
The Land Trust is managing the land with the goals of “decreasing the risk of catastrophic wildfire, protecting crucial habitat for native fish and wildlife, restoring native vegetation, improving grazing practices, enhancing public recreation access and encouraging greater use of the historic ranch house.”