EPiC

Weed’s Water War

Weed’s Water War

How residents of a small town at the foot of Mt. Shasta are fighting back against the bottled water industry By Leonie Sherman Mount Shasta from Weed’s Lake Street (Michael Yates). For 107 years, residents of Weed, California, a picturesque hamlet nestled against the flanks of snow-capped Mt. Shasta, have been drinking water from nearby Beaughan Spring. The water is so pure it flows straight to their faucets; no treatment is necessary. Locals take gallon jugs of it with them when they leave town. But Roseburg Forest Products, the Oregon-based timber giant that owns the land around the spring, has other uses for that pure water. Crystal Geyser already bottles Beaughan Spring water in Weed, and RFP wants to sell them even more. The timber company has told the 2,700 folks who call Weed home to find their water elsewhere. “No way,” says Michael Yates of Water for Citizens...
EPiC: Born to Be Wild

EPiC: Born to Be Wild

The story of the Wildlands Conservancy By Leonie Sherman TWC trails are popular destinations for dog lovers, like this visitor to Wind Wolves Preserve (Dan York/TWC). Twenty years ago an anonymous investor decided to give away his money. He donated almost a billion dollars to nonprofits, and became one of the largest backers of California conservation in history. He says the money he gave to The Wildlands Conservancy (TWC) is the best investment he ever made. “Most of that money he gave away is in the rear view mirror,” explains David Myers, Executive Director of TWC. “But the money he gave to start and support our organization for the first 15 years, that money is in the present tense. He can come visit our preserves and see where his money went. He calls The Wildlands Conservancy ‘the gift that keeps giving.’” When he visits one of the 14 preserves...
EPiC: Clean Oceans International

EPiC: Clean Oceans International

One man’s quest to save the sea By Leonie Sherman Cabrillo Oceanography students starting their shoreline debris survey (Patricia Lieberg-Clark). “I’m probably at the age where I should be retired,” says Jim Holm, founder of Clean Oceans International. He glances out his office window at the bustling Santa Cruz Harbor. “Instead I’m just really tired.” Thirty-five years as a boat captain will tire anyone out. But Holm –everyone calls him Captain Homer – isn’t tired from sailing the world. He’s tired because four years ago he started a non-profit called Clean Oceans International with the simple goal of cleaning up all the trash floating around in the world’s oceans. National Geographic estimates that there are 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic debris out there. “I was working on this boat called the 2041, with a Brit named Robert Swan,” Captain Homer explains. 2041 is the date that the international moratorium...
EPiC: Heal the Bay

EPiC: Heal the Bay

Healing waters from city to sea Words by Leonie Sherman • Photos courtesy Heal the Bay Santa Monica Beach. Thirty years ago locals were watching the Santa Monica Bay die before their eyes. “Lifeguards were getting sick, surfers were getting rashes, and we found dolphins with fin rot and huge tumors,” explains Lilian Ledesma, Volunteer Manager for Heal the Bay. “Nobody should ever get sick from swimming in the ocean and enjoying the beach.” The source of the pollution was partially treated sewage from LA’s Hyperion waste water treatment facility. Dorothy Green gathered friends and neighbors in her living room to address the problem. The group pressured city officials to bring the treatment facility up to federal standards. “Now Hyperion dumps 90% less sewage into the bay,” says Senior Coastal Policy Manager Dana Murray. “That experience taught us that a small group of people working together really can change...
EPiC: Protecting Mono Lake

EPiC: Protecting Mono Lake

Mono Lake Committee safeguards California gem Words by Leonie Sherman Photos courtesy Mono Lake Committee A glimpse of Mono Lake. On the edge of Yosemite National Park, fifteen miles east of Tioga Pass, Mono Lake shimmers like a jewel amid the vast monochromatic expanse of the Great Basin. More than twice as salty as the ocean and over ten times as alkaline, the lake hosts hundreds of thousands of nesting migratory birds and up to 80% of the state’s nesting California Gulls. Most visitors passing through have no idea how close this rich ecosystem came to complete biological collapse. “Mono Lake is the most significant environmental success story of its time,” says Lisa Cutting, Eastern Sierra Policy Director for the Mono Lake Committee (MLC). Started almost forty years ago by a dedicated group of visionary graduate students, the MLC has grown to thirteen full-time staff and acts as the...
EPiC: Thinking Like a Watershed

EPiC: Thinking Like a Watershed

The Mattole Restoration Council: restoring the land from ridgeline to river By Leonie Sherman MRC founding member, Freeman House, under the Council Madrone tree (MRC). Deep in the forests of southern Humboldt lie the sprawling remains of the biggest madrone on the planet. Locals call it the Council Madrone. Indigenous people gathered beneath its branches for centuries. In 1983 an unlikely band of back-to-the-landers, ranchers and loggers sat in its shade and vowed to put aside their differences and work together to take care of the place they call home. They realized that if they wanted to see healthy salmon runs they would need to replant hillsides barren after decades of abuse. They would need to stabilize riverbanks that had been scoured by catastrophic slides. If they wanted to avoid raging wildfire they would need to manage fuel reduction. They would need to think like a watershed. The Mattole...
EPiC: Truckee Donner Land Trust

EPiC: Truckee Donner Land Trust

Saving open space for all of us By Leonie Sherman Perazzo Meadows. Photo: Elizabeth Carmel/The Carmel Gallery in Truckee Rumor has it that the Truckee Donner Land Trust started around a kitchen table, but one founder, John Eaton insists it was a fireplace. Twenty-five years ago he was working on land issues with local environmental and political groups. He became convinced that a whole new kind of organization was necessary to save open space and preserve the rural character of his beloved home in the northern Sierra. “You really can’t save open space through just litigation. And you can’t really save open space just through zoning,” he explains. “if you want to preserve open spaces, you absolutely have to have a land trust.” “Of course, I knew nothing about land trusts when I had this realization,” he laughs. “But I talked to a friend who knew somebody who did,...
EPiC: Save Our Shores – Saving the Beaches

EPiC: Save Our Shores – Saving the Beaches

 After nearly forty years Save Our Shores continues its heroic work By Leonie Sherman Passionfish restaurant volunteers care for Lover’s Point in Monterey as part of SOS’s Adopt A Beach program. Lots of people move to Santa Cruz to be near the ocean, but Rachel Kippen moved there to save it. After years of working on marine science and policy from Orange County to San Francisco Bay, she got frustrated talking about problems but not participating in solutions. “I wanted to be part of a group that did advocacy and education and accomplished measurable goals,” she explains. “Save Our Shores was the only logical choice.” Without the work of hundreds of Save Our Shores volunteers and dedicated staff, the pristine coast that millions of us love would be marred by oil derricks. There would be a few more tons of plastic pollution off-shore, and tens of thousands of school...
EPiC: California FarmLink

EPiC: California FarmLink

Promoting sustainable agriculture by supporting the next generation of farmers By Ariana Reguzzoni FarmLink clients Chris Hay (of Say Hay Farms) with landowners Pat Meade and Jon Robbins of Yolo County. It’s an alarming yet well-known statistic in the world of agriculture that the average age of the American small farmer is 58. As our farmers retire, will there be younger farmers coming in to replace them? In many cases, offspring and heirs have moved from the farm and are not interested in returning. The next generation of beginning and aspiring farmers, many of them first-timers, face big obstacles to getting started and succeeding as farmers. The top two are lack of access to land and lack of access to capital. Without support from organizations like FarmLink, the next generation of small farms will cease to exist. As a result, the trend toward commercial agribusiness and away from family-owned...
EPiC: Adventure Sports Journal’s Environmental Partnership Campaign

EPiC: Adventure Sports Journal’s Environmental Partnership Campaign

Doing great work for the adventure community in California? We want to help you reach your highest potential! The epitome of epic. Photo by Nelly. ASJ’s EPiC program is designed to bring awareness to non-profit organizations dedicated to promoting stewardship and access for the adventure sports community throughout California. Our mission is to provide inspiring coverage of California’s epic terrain, and to help the outdoor sports community preserve and maintain access for future generations. We encourage outdoor non-profit organizations based in California to contact us for the chance to be featured in our publication and receive a FREE display ad. Since the program’s debut in October 2014, EPiC winners include Ecology Action, Snowlands Network, Honnold Foundation. Read more about these amazing organizations that are making a positive difference for our earth: Inspired Leadership: Ecology Action Saving the Solitude: Snowlands Network Solar Climbers: Honnold Foundation For more information,...
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