This entry concludes the northernmost Sierra Nevada forests ecoregion compilation, with information about hydroelectric developments, wilderness areas, and state parks included.
Feather River, Middle Fork
Lake Davis, California State Water Project (N39º53’ W120º29’), is on Big Grizzly Creek, a tributary to the Middle Fork Feather River. The reservoir is north of Portola, with recreation areas managed by the Plumas National Forest.
Frenchman Lake, California State Water Project (N39º54’ W120º12’), is on Last Chance Creek, a tributary of the Middle Fork Feather River. It is north of Hallelujah Junction off of State Route 70. Recreation Areas are managed by the Plumas National Forest.
Feather River, South Fork
Little Grass Valley Reservoir, South Feather Water and Power Agency (N39º43’ W121º1’) is the uppermost storage reservoir of the South Feather Hydroelectric Development and is on the South Fork Feather River.
South Fork Diversion Dam, South Feather Water and Power Agency (N39º39’ W121º7’) sends water from the South Fork Feather River into a 2.7-mile tunnel for delivery to Sly Creek Reservoir. The reservoir also receives water from Slate Creek Diversion Dam in the North Yuba River watershed.
Sly Creek Reservoir, South Feather Water and Power Agency (N39º35’ W121º7’), is a major storage reservoir for the South Feather Hydroelectric Development on Lost Creek. Water is released to Lost Creek Reservoir.
Lost Creek Reservoir, South Feather Water and Power Agency (N39º34’ W121º8’) diverts water to a tunnel which generates power is Woodleaf Powerhouse on upper Forbestown Diversion Reservoir.
Forbestown Diversion Dam, South Feather Water and Power Agency (N39º33’ W121º12’) is on the South Fork Feather River and diverts water to a powerhouse on Ponderosa Diversion Reservoir.
Ponderosa Diversion Dam, South Feather Water and Power Agency (N39º33’ W121º18’) is on the South Fork Feather River and diverts water through a canal and tunnel to Miners Ranch Reservoir.
Miners Ranch Reservoir, South Feather Water and Power Agency (N39º30’ W121º27’), stores water for release into Kelly Ridge Powerhouse below Oroville Dam.
North Yuba River
New Bullards Bar Reservoir, Yuba County Water Agency (N39º24’ W121º8’), is partially on Tahoe and Plumas National Forest lands. There is a powerhouse at the reservoir and also at Colgate. The Colgate powerhouse (N39º20’ W121º11’) receives water from the Colgate Tunnel from New Bullards Bar Reservoir diversion dam just downstream of New Bullards Bar Reservoir. The reservoir is part of the Yuba River Development Project. On the upper end of the reservoir on Deadwood Creek (N39º32’ W121º6’) is a hydro plant operated by Yuba County Water Agency.
Slate Creek Diversion Dam, South Feather Water and Power Agency, Plumas National Forest (N39º37’ W121º3’) sends water to Sly Creek Reservoir in the Feather River watershed.
National Trails System
California National Historic Trail
The Beckwourth Trail, Walker River-Sonora Route, Carson Route, and Truckee Routes of the California National Historic Trail cross the Sierra Nevada ecoregion. In addition, the emigrants used at least 11 alternate routes in addition to the four main routes. One alternate route that ultimately became the most popular was the Johnson Cutoff, which is roughly modern-day U.S. Route 50.
The Beckwourth Trail roughly follows State Route 70 from Beckwourth Pass (approximately 5,200 feet) to Quincy and the Oroville-Quincy Highway (Forest Highway 119) from Quincy via Bucks Summit (5,500 feet) to Bidwell Bar, submerged under today’s Oroville Lake. It was used beginning in 1851 after the Donner Disaster and was viewed as a low-elevation alternative to the Truckee Route. Sites on the Beckwourth Trail include Beckwourth Pass (N39º47’ W120º7’), Jim Beckwourth Museum and Cabin of the City of Portola (N39º49’ W120º25’), American Valley (Quincy, N39º56’ W120º57’), Bucks Lake (N39º52’ W121º11’), Mountain House (N39º42’ W121º20’), and Bidwell Bar (N39º33’ W121º26’) in Lake Oroville State Recreation Area. Except where indicated, all the sites are privately owned.
Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail
Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail extends 2,600 miles from Canada to Mexico, passing through some of the most scenic areas in California.
In the Plumas National Forest, the PCT enters the forest at Summit Lake (N39º40’ W120º41’), passes Pilot Peak (N39º47’ W120º52’), Middle Fork Feather River (N39º48’ W121º3’), Rock Creek Reservoir (N40º0’ W121º16’), and leaves the forest at Chips Creek (N40º2’ W121º18’). The trail continues in the Lassen National Forest and leaves the Sierra Nevada after passing Poison Spring (N40º3’ W121º24’).
National Recreation Trails of the Sierra Nevada
Feather Falls National Recreation Trail, Plumas National Forest, California (N39º39’ W121º16’) is a 4.5-mile walk to the sixth highest waterfall in the U.S. (640 feet). The trailhead is off of Lumpkin Road (N39º37’ W121º16’).
Hartman Bar National Recreation Trail, Plumas National Forest, California (N39º45’ W121º10’), is a 3.75-mile descent from Forest Highway 94 to the Middle Fork Feather Wild and Scenic River, providing scenic canyon views.
National Wild and Scenic River System
The Middle Fork Feather River, Plumas National Forest and National System of Public Lands, is a wild and scenic river from Lake Oroville (N39º38’ W121º17’) upstream for 78 miles to the Sierra Valley Channels at Beckwourth (N39º49’ W120º23’). Wild river designations are in the Bald Rock Canyon area just before Lake Oroville, Devil Canyon (N39º44’ W121º13’), and Franklin Canyon (N39º48’ W121º5’). Scenic river designations are near Milsap Bar (N39º42’ W121º16’) and English Bar (N39º52’ W120º50’). The upper river from the railroad tunnel at Sloat (N39º52’ W120º46’) upstream to Sierra Valley is a recreational river designation. The Sierra Valley is the largest intermountain valley in the Sierra Nevada, and is at 5,000 feet in elevation, with sagebrush scrub and freshwater marshes. It is an Important Bird Area for the black tern, Wilson’s phalarope, and willet. A large colony of white-faced ibis breeds in the valley.
National Wilderness Preservation System
Bucks Lake Wilderness, Plumas National Forest, California, is 23,700 acres between Bucks Lake and the North Fork Feather River. This northernmost wilderness in the Sierra Nevada features oak and red fir forests, meadows, and quaking bogs. The northernmost point is near French Bar at the confluence of the North Fork Feather and East Branch North Fork Feather River (N40º1’ W121º13’) and the southernmost point is near Bucks Lake (N39º53’ W121º9’). The Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail crosses the wilderness from Belden in the north (N40º0’ W121º16’) for 13 miles to Bucks Summit in the south (N39º54’ W121º7’), mostly following a ridge which drops off precipitously to the east and north. The Mount Pleasant Research Natural Area (N39º57’ W121º11’) is within the wilderness and was established for research on red fir on granite substrate, as well as wet and moist meadows with bog flora.
State and Local Sites
Baker Forest, University of California-Davis (N39º55’ W121º4’) is 120 acres in Meadow Valley west of Quincy operated under special use permit in the Plumas National Forest. It is used as a forestry summer camp and for forest research. In addition to ponderosa and sugar pines and black oak, there are plantations of white fir, giant sequoia, and incense cedar.
Butte Creek Ecological Reserve, California (N40º5’ W121º25’) is 320 acres of wet meadows and lodgepole-Jeffrey pine habitat. It is surrounded by Lassen National Forest lands and is on Humbug Summit Road.
Coon Hollow Wildlife Area, California, is 730 acres of wet meadow and upland habitat surrounded by Lassen National Forest lands. Tracts at Coon Hollow (N40º3’ W121º27’) and Snag Lake (N40º5’ W121º26’) make up the wildlife area.
Crocker Meadows Wildlife Area, California (N39º51’ W120º23’) is 1,700 acres of montane chaparral in two units. Vegetation is sagebrush and bitterbrush with scattered black oak and pine. The site is on Plumas County Road 111 north of Beckwourth and adjoins the Plumas National Forest and National System of Public Lands.
Lassen Creek Conservation Area, Lassen Land and Trails Trust, California (N40˚22’ W120˚38’), is south of Susanville on Richmond Road. The 385-acre area provides winter forage of the Lassen mule deer herd.
Lake Oroville State Recreation Area, California (N39º32’ W121º29’) surrounds Lake Oroville on the Feather River, West Branch Feather River, North Fork Feather River, Middle Fork Feather River, and South Fork Feather River. The area is 15,500 acres with 167 miles of shoreline. Reservoir-oriented recreation is emphasized. A visitor center is at the dam, and trails are at Potter Point and Loafer Creek. The area borders the National System of Public Lands, Plumas National Forest, and Lassen National Forest. The recreation extends up the West Branch to Jordan Hill (N39º44’ W121º34’), the North Fork to Poe Powerhouse (N39º43’ W121º28’), the Middle Fork to Feather Falls (N39º38’ W121º17’), and the South Fork to Ponderosa Diversion Dam (N39º33’ W121º18’).
Plumas-Eureka State Park, California (N39º45’ W120º42’), is 4,400 acres west of the Mohawk Valley, accessible from state Route 89 at Graeagle. The major interpretive focus is as a museum of gold rush era California. The park preserves a historic gold mine on Eureka Peak, formerly Gold Mountain, which contained 65 miles of tunnels. There are hiking trails to the peak and to the adjoining Lakes Basin Recreation Area in the Plumas National Forest.
Heart K Ranch Preserve, Feather River Land Trust, California (N40º3’ W120º42’), is 884 acres of oak woodland and lakes in the Genesee Valley along Indian Creek east of Taylorsville. The property is surrounded by the Plumas National Forest.
Maddalena Preserve, Feather River Land Trust, California (N39º48’ W120º21’), is 575 acres of wetlands at the headwaters of the Middle Fork Feather River. It is adjacent to State Route 70 in the Sierra Valley.