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The Associated Press May 11, 2010, 12:01PM ET

Group buys land in Sierra Nevada from utility

A conservation group plans to protect wilderness land surrounding Independence Lake after buying it for $15 million from electric utility NV Energy Inc.

The Nature Conservancy in California executive Mike Sweeney calls the purchase of more than 3.6 square miles of land an important conservation milestone in the Sierra Nevada.

In a statement Tuesday, Sweeney says generations to come will benefit.

The alpine lake just north of Lake Tahoe provides water to the Reno-Sparks area and is a popular destination for anglers and hikers.

The utility now known as NV Energy had owned the 2,325 acres of forest land since 1937.

Company president and chief executive Michael Yackira says the ownership transfer will continue a legacy of stewardship. He says the site has unlimited recreational opportunities.

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