In my old but still active age, my desire to leave the world a better place when I move on becomes more compelling. When I retired, becoming part of the High Sierra Rural Alliance offered a purposeful way to advocate for protection of the local resources that are our legacy.
The HSRA acts to ensure that an informed public and an educated governing body make sound land use decisions. We have been active in Plumas and Sierra counties as both Plumas County and the City of Loyalton began the process of updating their General Plans. We have also assisted in protection of the Lakes Basin region and the rural and agricultural resources in the Sierra Valley.
We have provided a vigilant public presence in the land use decision-making process in both Counties, following the process all the way to the Courts if necessary to move local governments to meet their legal requirements. HSRA has been successful in each of the cases brought forward. The background stories of these, and more about HSRA, can be found on the website HighSierraRural.org.
The High Sierra Rural Alliance continues to work to represent the public interest with integrity and a strong commitment to our motto: Be Happy; Stay Rural!
When I drive across the Yuba Pass and look out on the Sierra Valley, or hike to Upper Sardine Lake, or ski in the Lunch Creek backcountry, I am always thrilled by the immeasurable beauty of where I am so lucky to live. And I’m ready to continue in my commitment to the High Sierra Rural Alliance.
We are proud to be donors to the High Sierra Rural Alliance. The motto of this grass roots organization is “Be Happy; Stay Rural” – a motto that is suggested by the spirit of the General Plan for Sierra and Plumas Counties. These counties have a rural history and their General Plan, written and approved by their residents, was adopted in 1996 to preserve this history.
The High Sierra Rural Alliance was founded in 2004 to help Sierra and Plumas Counties abide by this General Plan. The goal of HSRA is “to promote good local and regional land use planning that will balance economic growth with preservation of the area’s unique natural and scenic resources.” It has stood firmly by the General Plan in the face of strong ridicule and falsehoods from media and some property owners.
There have been many instances in the last five years in which applied-for variances have threatened to erode the General Plan’s land use stipulations. These guidelines balance economic growth with the preservation of a rural atmosphere. Here are some of the actions The High Sierra Rural Alliance has taken to help maintain the General Plan:
1. making sure a development in Plumas County respects a most sensitive environmental area;
2. challenging Sierra County’s action trying to authorize large residential estates on TPZ parcels;
3. making an agreement with Sierra County to enact ordinances to implement the General Plan in creating zoning districts around streams and to bring the Zoning Code into conformity with the General Plan simplifying development occurring in existing community core areas while protecting sensitive stream areas outside the core areas;
4. working with the Counties to ensure sound planning regarding development within the 100 year flood plain;
5. encouraging the Smart Growth principle of development around existing communities and discouraging development in areas remote from existing services;
6. stopping approval of a development subdivision in Plumas County for failing to prepare an EIR when a stream bank failure was a known risk.
It’s easy for county governments to approve all development, or to stop all development. It takes time, knowledge, impartiality, and education to keep governments on the path of their General Plan by making smart land use decisions. We thank and will continue to support the High Sierra Rural Alliance for their perseverance in their mission.
Joe & Fran Burgard
Sierra City, CA