Lillian Nelson Nature Preserve Brings New Possibilities for Shasta Land Trust and Community

Nestled between two major forces of local development, the Shasta Land Trust’s newest conservation easement shows the clear need and benefit for conserving natural open space. Bounded on three sides by subdivisions and Bethel Church, the Lillian Nelson Nature Preserve provides a rich wildlife corridor and pleasing natural landscape for all around it, benefits which will remain in place in for all time under the terms of SLT’s conservation easement. It also has a feeling of legacy, of a piece of land long cherished by a family, and now shared with the entire community. This is the first SLT conservation easement entirely within the Redding city limits.

Homes in Highland Park overlook new Lillian Nelson Nature Preserve

Our host Gail Leonard, daughter of Lillian Nelson, showed us evidence of beavers along Boulder Creek, which meanders throughout the site. The Nelson family has supported conservation education for many years, with first-grade classes from Boulder Creek School making an all-day walk and field trip to the property, to Shasta College classes doing water quality testing. These efforts are expected to expand further with SLT’s assistance. Plentiful deer, coyotes, rabbits, owls and other wildlife abound.

Boulder Creek flows well, even after three sub-par rain years.

The silence is simply stunning, all the more amazing in that you’re just minutes from two major highways. It’s the kind of silence that focuses you on exactly what you are doing – walking, thinking, listening, feeling. The very texture of the ground wells up – sometimes muddy, sometimes rocky, and on this day, crunchy snow. Such are the transformations wilderness brings. The imminent press of civilization, with all its benefits and failings, will always border wild places like this. That’s why it is so important to preserve them as we can.

Great Horned Owl surveys its domain on recent day at the Preserve.

The Shasta Land Trust is proud to accept the responsibility to maintain and protect the conservation easement for the Lillian Nelson Nature Preserve. With limited access to this Preserve and the fully-public new Great Shasta Rail Trail project in McCloud, SLT opens a new chapter of increased public access and new possibilities. Wild open space is a quality of life enhancement for all, and the need for an active land trust in our area has never been more apparent.

One way to learn more about the Land Trust is to come to the Wildways Kickoff event on the evening of February 22, 2014, at the Shasta Senior Center. It’s a great chance to meet the many wonderful people who make up the Land Trust membership and staff, and it offers first crack at the best Wildwaysparties and events for 2014. Further info is available at the number or website below.

Lillian Nelson’s daughter Gail Leonard and SLT/Americorps’ Max Odland discuss conservation education possibilities for the Preserve.

The administration for these projects and more than 20,000 other conserved acres in Shasta County is completely funded through local donations, and this is where you come in. The beauty of these efforts will be enjoyed by the entire community for years to come, and the pride in knowing you helped make it happen can be found by calling 241-7886 or visiting Please join this important group today.

Tom O'Mara

Tom O’Mara is a volunteer Civil Rights Advocate for the Redding Police Department.