Fall-Winter 2008 - 2009 Big Sur Land Trust Newsletter

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Fall-Winter 2008 - 2009 Big Sur Land Trust Newsletter

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Post Office Box 221864 Carmel, California 93922Address Correction RequestedNon-Profit Org. U.S. Postage PA I D Permit No. 93 Carmel, CA 93922DONOR PRIVACY POLICY: The Big Sur Land Trust will not sell, trade or share your personal information with anyone else, nor send mailings on behalf of other organizations.contactto reach us:Telephone: 831.625.5523 Fax: 831.625.0716 E-mail: mail@bigsurlandtrust.org www.bigsurlandtrust.orgBoard of TrusteesCHAIRStaffBill Leahy, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Donna Meyers, DIRECTOR OF CONSERVATION PROGRAMS Adrienne Otis, ACCOUNTING AND FINANCE MANAGER Lana Weeks, DIRECTOR OF PHILANTHROPY Rachel T. Saunders, DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONSAND COMMUNITY AFFAIRSDiane SenaVICE CHAIRStephen SchulteTREASURERPhil WilhelmSECRETARYLinda Charles Ian Arnof David Bates Demi Briscoe Phillip Butler Paul Danielson Steve Dorrance Kent Evans Rosalind Fisher Scot McKay Bob Sayre George N. Somero, Ph.D. Nick Wheeler Marsha McMahan ZelusJoanna Devers, LAND ACQUISITIONS MANAGER Donna Walden, EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT Sarah Godfrey, CONSERVATION PROGRAM STEWARD Todd Farrington, OPERATIONS AND EVENTS MANAGER Jim Cox, GLEN DEVEN RANCH MANAGER David Zweifel, MITTELDORF PRESERVE CARETAKER Amber Sanchez Leon, MEMBERSHIP AND SUPPORT SERVICES SPECIALIST Jim Keller, EASEMENT PROGRAM MANAGER Cameron Chabre, CONSERVATION PROJECTS MANAGERConsultantsLaw Offices of Zad Leavy and Robin Jepsen, LEGAL COUNSEL Doolittle & Ganos, INVESTMENT ADVISORprinted by an economical direct to plate process, on recycled paper using soy based inks.You invitedIt can only happen once...The Big Sur Land TruST S30 th AnniversAry CelebrAtionFostering the Emotional Connection Between People and PlaceJoin the BSLT family of donors and members at Carmels Sunset Center on ursday, november 20, at 8:00 p.m., for our 30th anniversary Celebration.is celebratory evening includes a live concert with award-winning folksinger erica Wheeler and a reception following the performance catered by Wendy brodie of e Art of Food Catering. (see inside for the full program.) is event is free and open to all bslt members and donors, but advance registration is required by november 14, 2008. seating is limited. to register, please call bslt at 831-625-5523, ext. 1. or email 30thanniversary@bigsurlandtrust.org (please include your full name, how many in your party and your phone number). is event is sure to ll quickly, so please call early!Our celebration of the harvest and community at Palo Corona Ranch has been so much fun that were making it an annual event! We invite you to become a donor of $1,000 or more and join us at this special event next year!FALL HARVES TEditorial Services Indi Zeleny, Tom Owens Communications Newsletter Design Bunne Hartmann, Hartmann Design Group Photography Douglas Steakley, Kodiak Greenwood, Ventana Wildlife Society and BSLT StaffTHE BIG SUR LAND TRUSTFall / Winter 200809 C o n s e r v i n g o u r p r e c i o u s l a n d a n d wa t e r s f o r a l l g e n e r a t i o n sRISINGI N S I D E founder's day 30 years of the big sur land trust I N S I D E erica wheeler award-winning folksinger headlines 30th anniversaryfromTHE ASHESprice you pay for living in such a beautiful region. We dont say if were going to have a fire. its when were going to have a fire, he asserts. the same way with floods. We know were going to have them, but we dont know exactly when. At the land trust, the response to the wildfire was three-pronged: addressing the safety of its caretakers and properties, offering assistance and relief to displaced community members, and contributing to a scientific assessment of potential further damage from the coming winter rains. rachel saunders, bslt Director of Communications and Community Affairs, attended many of the nightly meetings held in big sur and at Carmel Middle school to keep up to date on the fires progress and its effect on the land and local communities. Planes were overhead, laying reddish-orange fire retardant over the ridges, she recalls. there was a lot of background noise from the planes, helicopters and trucks, while firefighters were trying to give updates and 70 to 100 others were trying to listen. the hustle and intensity and concentration felt like a M.A.s.h. unit. PeOPLe and PLaCeS According to saunders, bslts immediate priority was ensuring the safety of Cox and David Zweifel, better known as D.Z., the caretaker on the Mitteldorf Preserve in Carmel valley.How do you measure a wildfire? In acres burned (240,000 for the Basin and Indians fires combined) or in human lives lost (none)? In emotional impact or in economic toll? The statistics from the fires are staggering, the fear immense, the losses devastating for some. The wildfires impacted Big Sur, Carmel Valley, Arroyo Seco and neighboring communities on so many levels. on saturday, June 21, 2008, lightning strikes ignited several small fires that quickly grew into the basin Complex Fire, leading to mandatory evacuations and the closure of highway 1, while drawing national attention to a natural, yet terrifying phenomenon last witnessed on the big sur Coast in the late 1970s. Meanwhile, in the los Padres national Forest, an enormous conflagration known as the indians Fire had been raging since June 8, started by an illegal campfire and surging through the Forest lands and the ventana Wilderness. At one time, as many as 2,000 firefighters were in big sur, fighting the basin blaze, which eventually merged with the indians Fire and was finally contained on sunday, July 27. At high noon on that fateful saturday in June, big sur resident and Coast Property owners Association board Member butch Kronlund was working on his back deck outside his Coastlands home. suddenly, an ominous funnel cloud loomed over the top of his house. i could see this radical looking weather event happening right before my eyes, and i could see lightning striking out in the ocean, Kronlund recalls. he retreated inside his house, concerned for his safety in the electrical storm. ten minutes later, i heard a siren and knew a brush fire had started from a lightning strike. Jim Cox, former fire chief of the Mid-Coast Fire brigade and 35-year caretaker of the land trusts Glen Deven property, considers fire part of theI N S I D E whitney legacy fund benefits big surI N S I D E songbird preserve critical carmel river parkway acquisitionThe capacity to care is the thing that gives life its deepest meaning and significance Pablo CasalsTHE BIG SUR LAND TRUST - POST OFFICE BOX 221864, CARMEL, CALIFORNIA 93922 TELEPHONE 831.625.5523FA X 8 3 1 . 6 2 5 . 0 7 1 6 - W W W. B I G S U R L A N D T R U S T. O R GFROM THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTORFROM THE ASHESJim Cox is very familiar with fire, says saunders. he was busy trying to ensure that Glen Deven was defendable, cutting shrubbery, hooking up sprinkler systems, and wetting down buildings. Glen Deven is strategically placed to serve as an alternate evacuation route to the winding Palo Colorado Canyon road should fire reach the populated canyon. At the nightly community meetings, land trust representatives informed local residents that the alternate route to safety would be available should the need arise. if Palo Colorado residents were given the order to evacuate, they would have been taken out in sections, starting with those closest to the fire. We could have the heavy equipment coming in from highway 1 up Palo Colorado Canyon, says Cox. We could take the residents out through Garrapata and Glen Deven to another road that drops back down to highway 1. in past emergencies, both fire and flood, Glen Deven ranch was opened up as an evacuation center and offered to the sPCA as a drop-off point for endangered livestock, saving the organization a long trip out to highway 68. Cox says that the ranch is ideally situated as the center hub for the Garrapata and Palo Colorado area.continued from page 1Death, there was copious dry fuel surrounding the buildings. We had to figure out a strategy to do the best we could, and part of it was getting structural fire blankets, he says. D.Z. and several volunteers performed a test run deploying the blankets, which resembled wrapping the buildings in tin foil. they learned how long it would take and how many people were needed to install them. We had a pretty good view of things from up on top of the preserve, and we were only eight miles from the fire as the crow flies, which isnt all that much, D.Z. recalls. thankfully, the blaze was halted south of Palo Colorado and never reached Mitteldorf Preserve. Arroyo seco ranch saw significant impact from firefighting, with both the Forest service and CalFire using the property as a staging area. they cut several fire breaks to contain the indians Fire, Meyers says. our ranch was the northernmost containment line to stop the fire. Many dozer-wide fire breaks were cut to get equipment in, there was back-burning on the property, and they took down most of the fencing. on the bslt agenda for Arroyo seco in the near future: replacing the fences, repairing the roads, and controlling invasive plant species in disturbed areas.THE BIG SUR:Precious, Precarious and Luminous as the Moon and StarsAny of us with a wary eye on the sky that Saturday afternoon in late June will remember the feeling of dread as dark, charged clouds advanced on our coastline. The Indians Complex fire had laid the groundwork, menacing us for days prior on the inland side. And when the second column of thick smoke appeared over Big Sur, the worst was confirmed. By the time this newsletter arrives in your mailbox, multiple fundraisers will have been held, post fire analysis and assessment completed, and stories of heroism, loss, fear, anger and human spirit will have been told countless times. The Big Sur Land Trust will have inventoried the damage and restoration needs of our lands alongside others in our community. As I write this letter, we are already bracing for the winter rains and the almost certain havoc they will wreak on mountains laid bare by fire. As is frequently the case with natural disasters, our experience this summer is a reminder that human beings, despite all we do to separate ourselves from the natural world, are still, ultimately governed by laws complex and mysterious. We are all part of an intricate web of connections, to the land, to the sea and to one another. When we momentarily forget that connection, something in nature inevitably comes along to remind us. Much has been said about the wisdom of human beings living in areas prone to natural disaster. I think, rather, the issue is really about how we choose to live and associate with the natural world around us. People will always live in areas that support them nutritionally, economically, emotionally and spiritually. In turn, every one of us must accept the inherent risks associated with how and where we choose to live. Every human community, whether Big Sur or New York City, must find its appropriate equilibrium in its relationship to the environment. This summer has reminded me of why we care so much for Big Sur. Those of us who travel through the area are drawn by the world-class beauty and natural drama of the landscape and seascape. For those who live there, it is the heart and spirit of the place, not the least of which is the unique and special people who call Big Sur home. Most of those who have made the choice to live there have done so with full consciousness of the risks and rewards, and with the deep undeniable desire to live in full relationship with the landscape. That strong spirit and deep connection was on full display during and after the fire as neighbor joined neighbor to support one another in a myriad of ways from fighting the flames on their backdoor steps, to opening their homes to the displaced, to financially assisting those who could least afford to be without income while the fire closed down their businesses. It is, perhaps, not entirely coincidental that along with the loss of special places taken by the fires (the Hopkins home, the Newell barn, and so many more), that this year we also lost some of Big Surs most beloved citizen philosophers and poets. One might wonder if Jeff Norman and Ric Masten might be smiling down on us now, secure in the knowledge that we have been reminded again as they reminded us in life of the preciousness and precariousness of life and how best to reside in a rough and glorious place alive with the spirit of community. A particular poem by Ric Masten, Luminous as the Moon and Stars, written after he was diagnosed with prostate cancer, captures precious and precarious life in the Big Sur (see page 8). The spirit and beauty of Big Sur is indeed quicksilver at hand that helps us heal and forget our loss, whether the loss of wonderful folks like Jeff or Ric or the loss of home itself. Big Sur endures, luminous as the moon and stars.thats what it has always been, he asserts. Weve used it like that in 82 and 83 and also in 96. We had helicopters landing here and evacuating folks out, and we just open up this ranch for the whole community. Cox says that the land trust continues to make Glen Deven available to Palo Colorado residents in times of crisis. All in all, Glen Deven managed to sail through the fire threat very well, according to bslt Conservation Director Donna Meyers. nothing was damaged on the property, she says. Mostly, we are now focusing on additional fire protection there, doing some eucalyptus removal, and trying to make the property even more fire safe. the land trust properties at the Mitteldorf Preserve and Arroyo seco ranch were also affected by the fire and firefighting operations. the Forest service sent as many as 12 bulldozers up existing Mitteldorf roads to access ridges and build fire breaks to the south of the preserve. We typically only allow hikers on that property, says Meyers. so when you have big bulldozers come through multiple times, the roads and bridges get heavily chewed up. We completely understand the need to establish those fire breaks. now, were trying to get those roads back to a place where theyre hikeable and not causing erosion into the streams. says D.Z., We were the access to the backcountry for the contingency fire line if the fire would have started crossing over Palo Colorado and into Garrapata Canyon. to protect the propertys three structures, D.Z. had a huge challenge before him. he did not have the water necessary to employ fire-retardant gel to protect the buildings, and due to the last three years of drought and the many trees lost to sudden oakCOMMuniTY CareS in the midst of securing the safety of its own people and lands, the land trust also focused on community fire relief through a promising and historic alliance with big surs Coast Property owners Association (CPoA), donating $100,000 from the land trusts David Whitney legacy Fund for big sur to the CPoAs massive fire relief effort. CPoA secretary and big sur resident lisa Kleissner was vacationing in hawaii when word of the fire reached her. she had just been on the phone with the associations president, Jeannie Ford, discussing the possibility of raising a fire relief fund to help the big sur community, when she received a phone call from bslts rachel saunders. saunders informed her that the land trusts board was considering a donation to the relief fund. And when rachel told me the amount, i told her, oh, well, that must be for us and a few other organizations, says Kleissner. saunders assured her that the entire $100,000 was slated for the CPoA. i was stunned, Kleissner recalls. i mean, the need certainly justified the amount, but it was so quick and this generosity happened right in the same flashpoint moment when we were seeing the need grow exponentially every day and were wondering if we could keep up with it. Michael Gilson, big sur resident, CPoA board member, and co-owner of the big sur bakery, lost his home and two weeks worth of business due to the fire and evacuation. it was a home that i rented for the last three years on the newell family ranch, and we were one of the very first people to be evacuated on the night that the fire started, Gilson recounts. the house burned a day-and-ahalf later. but we couldnt get back in because the2fire had engulfed the road leading in, and i had gotten only about 20 percent of my stuff out. Gilson slept on the bakery floor, staying behind to provide food to the firefighters and to help protect the building. thinking back on the land trusts donation, Gilson says, My experience has been that the land trust was just a great ally for us, and i think they proved it by stepping up and basically being the first donor to what became a crucial financial lynchpin for this community during the fire. by doing so, they gave confidence to others to donate. According to Kleissner, the CPoA held a meeting at the big sur bakery with bslt representatives and all of the major relief organizations, including the red Cross and the United Way. Also in attendance were Congressman sam Farr, Monterey County supervisor Dave Potters office, Monterey Countys social services, the sPCA, and local business owners and residents. the CPoAs immediate order of business was to determine how to best utilize their relief fund. We did this out in the back patio, and we could barely hear each other, says Kleissner. helicopters were flying overhead, bombers were dropping retardant, the fire was now coming down the ridge. it was all unfolding as we were having this discussion about what services could these organizations provide to the community that was now partially evacuated. After hearing from all the agencies present, CPoA board members realized that because the fire had not yet been labeled a disaster, there was nothing the government agencies could offer. the agencies recommended that the CPoA use the money from the relief fund to provide bridge funding that could help displaced community members. At that point, the CPoA board members thanked everyone for their time, convened a board meeting, and decided upon $300 grants to those in need. it all happened in rapid pace, says Kleissner. We went to the fire meeting an hour later and then made the announcement. the next thing, we started issuing checks. Most of the relief work took place out of Kleissners garage in the north part of big sur, outside of the evacuation zone. As more residents were evacuated, Kleissner recalls, they suddenly had a lot of time on their hands and went from part-time volunteers to full-time volunteers. People who were displaced and wanting to help showed up. so, on any given day, we might have had 18 or 20 people here helping to process the paperwork, which is pretty amazing. the $300 checks proved to be a lifeline for 649 individuals, about 1,200 people altogether when you count the families, says Kleissner. she reports that the total amount of fire relief funds raised by late August was slightly over half a million dollars, some of which is now slated for further fire-related missions. the relief funds paid for temporary housing and gasoline for evacuees, restocked refrigerators and freezers emptied of their spoiled contents, and even ensured that a single mothers sons dream of attending soccer camp was not dashed. soon letters and emails poured in to the CPoA, thanking the association and the donors for the peace of mind the grants provided. Wrote one big sur employee, the relief check really helped bridge the gap between the panic of losing income and seeing things come back online. With two kids one brand new it was greatly appreciated and useful during a time of such uncertainty. Another grant recipient wrote, to those of us who were displaced during the fire, the money provided invaluable assistance with gas and lodging expenses. i thought it was incredibly generous of the CPoA to provide big sur residents with relief checks, and also a remarkable display of humanity that enough money was donated to do so. longtime big sur architect and CPoA board member robert Carver describes the land trusts tremendous kickoff donation to the relief fund as a truly historic moment of synergy between the bslt and the CPoA. a One-TWO PunCh the groundbreaking cooperation between the land trust and the CPoA continues in the aftermath of the fire, looking ahead toward the next potential crisis for the big sur community. For even after the threat of fire is gone, the other shoe can drop and in big surs steep and rugged landscape, it usually does. Wildfires pack a one-two punch and deal their second blow when the winter rains appear. soil erosion is a paramount concern after a fire, particularly on the precipitous slopes and canyons that comprise the santa lucia range. theres an expectation that theres going to be a lot of material, including ash, small sediment and rock and probably dead trees, limbs and branches, says Donna Meyers. it will allmove down the slopes because of the steepness in big sur, and it will move toward the creeks and rivers. she warns of a debris flow, where all the water and the material mixes together and creates a big, moving pile of rock and wood and water. these debris flows have so much force behind them that they can take out roads, buildings and bridges. to address erosion issues on its properties, bslt handpicked a group of top watershed scientists, principally barry hecht of balance hydrologics, inc., assisted by Dr. reid Fisher of Pacific Geotechnical engineering. then the land trust introduced these scientists to the CPoA and funded an initial assessment on watershed conditions post fire. CPoA has now dipped into their fire relief funds to hire these scientists to work with private landowners. Donna Meyers is very knowledgeable about that process and, of course, we are not so knowledgeable, says CPoAs Kleissner. it was really terrific to have her step in and provide her advice and her know-how to guide us on the kind of help we needed. the watershed scientists have been conducting surveys via helicopter and on foot, hiking into watersheds and along the rivers. they visit individual properties and hold community meetings to advise residents and business owners on how severely the surrounding areas were burned. they explain what to expect after the rains, whether a road may be lost, or whether a water system may be further damaged. the watershed scientists studies show a lot of native plant seed present in the soil right now, says Meyers. she expects that many of the native plants will start coming back in the soil layer, especially if there is a light rain period before the actual winter storms hit. its conceivable well get some growth or sprouting of plants, but not to the extent that its going to fully protect the ground from eroding when the winter rains hit, she says. Meyers has been encouraging people not to take down burned trees because most of those trees will likely recover. theres really nothing we suggest that people do on their properties, per se, Meyers reports, but says that the land trust is attending community meetings focused on advising property owners of their risk factors and on what the winter may hold. even in a perfect big sur, its almost impossible to get completely ready for winter. but you can plan what youll do during a storm. Are you going to leave for a little while? Are you going to make sure you have everything you need to take care of yourself if your road goes out? the henry Miller library is at particularly high risk from mudslides, according to Meyers, as the fire severely burned the watershed behind it. the land trust owns the property and the buildings that house the historic library. Most of our analysis has shown that theres a real risk that the building could be severely affected if there was a big storm, warns Meyers. Were working with both Caltrans and these watershed scientists to see if theres anything we can do to provide some additional protection for the buildings as they come through the winter. PreParing FOr The FuTure the third tier of the land trusts approach to the wildfire also involves assisting the community to plan for the long-term future. in fact, discussions for management of wildfires were already in the works a few months before the basin fire broke out. in March of 2008, the land trust had assembled a group of big sur advisors to address how best to deploy the David Whitney legacy Fund for big sur in service of stewardship and community. this advisory group included residents Frank Pinney, bob sayre, Mary trotter, ned Callihan, ray sanborn, Greg hawthorne and Martha Diehl. the groups recommendation was not only appropriate, but prescient in nature: Allocate funds to develop a big sur fire management plan. things were moving right along up until the fire. in the fires aftermath, Frank Pinney, Chief of the big sur volunteer Fire brigade, submitted a request to bslt to fund the prepa-...people who live in rugged, rural areas have learned to rely on their friends and neighbors, particularly in times of crisis. When the wildfires hit Big Sur...that community spirit and connectivity between the land and its people proved itself to be fierce and alive.ration of a Community Wildfire Protection Plan for residents and associated wildlands in the big sur Area. the land trust overwhelmingly approved this application with a grant of $67,000, the full amount requested. According to Pinney, these funds will enable the community to develop a plan to reduce the likelihood of future wildfires, identify areas that need post-fire restoration, and develop a community-based incident management strategy to assure local participation in the case of a natural disaster. in the past, those homes that had been threatened had oftentimes been protected by the owners in conjunction with or in place of the professional firefighters that come in to fight the fire, Pinney says. he admits that the big sur community is unique in that so many of its residents are willing and able to join in the fray. We are really in a rural interface, where we have rural skills that are inherent to people living here, he says. Pinney notes that in more suburban areas, people often dont have the interest, skills, or desire to protect their own properties from a fire and prefer to leave it to the professional agencies.Down here, by relying on others to protect our property, we found that in point of fact the firefighting agencies were not able to, Pinney says. they either didnt have the resources, they were short of people, or they felt that the sites were too dangerous to send people from the team to go up there. these circumstances, Pinney realized, necessitated a Community Wildfire Protection Plan that could be relied upon to identify local capabilities. When a particular neighborhood has a fire or a serious event, then they can work at that level and can team up with other neighborhoods, with other stakeholders, such as Forest service and CalFire, and with the sheriffs department. All of the agencies that have an interest and a stake in the environment here on the big sur coast will be called to task to honor that protection plan once its completed, Pinney says. theyll all have buy-in, theyll all have input, and theyll all have an opportunity to put their interests into it. so it will be a local plan to some degree driving national-level planning. thats our dream and thats our hope. throughout history, people who live in rugged, rural areas have learned to rely on their friends and neighbors, particularly in times of crisis. When the wildfires hit big sur this summer, that community spirit and connectivity between the land and its people proved itself to be fierce and alive. how do you measure a fire? Perhaps in healing and helping and pulling together community, property owners, state and federal agencies, nonprofits, renters, business owners and employees alike to forge new alliances and construct solid plans for a safer and more sustainable future.Fire photographs by Kodiak Greenwood, see page 9. 330 YEARSBSLT FOUNDERS DAYWhat happens when you combine a top L.A. lawyer; a grandson of President Warren Harding; a wandering soul with a Quaker past; a Stanford-educated engineer; a homegrown landscape architect/land planner; caretakers of a royal Hawaiian family estate; and a member of a pioneering Big Sur family? Magic happens. The Big Sur Land Trust was born of such a fusion and has inspired and brought countless others into its fold for 30 years all of whom have at least one thing in common: a deep and abiding love for the Big Sur Coast.Zad Leavy, a Los Angeles attorney instrumental in Roe v. Wade, had recently left the sprawl of Southern California for the small town charms of Big Sur. Sherna Stewart grew up attending Quaker schools in Chicago, Tennessee and New Hampshire and, at the tender age of 21, crossed the country in a Mini Minor, landed in Big Sur, and met her future husband six months later. Lloyd Addleman had recently sold his successful Silicon Valley electronics firm and relocated to Big Sur. Roger Newell grew up between his fathers home in Big Sur and his mothers home in Carmel, married and studied in Berkeley, where he worked for a large-scale planning firm, then returned home to raise his family in the place he loved best. Martin and Suzann Forster owned a home overlooking Pfeiffer Beach and traveled regularly to Kauai to oversee an island princesss estate. Nancy Hopkins, Peter Harding, and spouses Laela Leavy, Beverly Newell, and Pat Addleman rounded out the eclectic crew. We were all neighbors, we all knew each other, and we shared a similar appreciation for the very special beauty of the Big Sur area, says Newell. The friends gathered in each others living rooms and kitchens and out onto their patios and back decks to share the beauty and wonder they found in Big Sur and their burning desire to ensure the magic would continue forever. There was a synergy among us, Leavy says. We spent a lot of time together. The meetings in our homes went on and on until we began to form The Big Sur Land Trust. The fledgling Land Trust incorporated in February 1978. Basically, the notion (of a land trust) was rather new and unfamiliar to our coastal area, so we were kind of pioneers, says Newell. We were one of the early land trusts that became very high profile because of all the interest in Big Sur. Leavy agrees, noting that they eventually helped other land trusts start up in areas such as San Luis Obispo. Now, fledgling land trusts would come to us for assistance, he says. As a result of the work we did, we became well known throughout the United States as a pioneer land trust. LOVE OF THE LAND Sherna Stewart, Zad Leavy and Roger Newell all credit childhood experiences with influencing their adult passions to protect and preserve Big Surs wild places. In the mid-Seventies, Sherna Stewart had just returned to Big Sur after living in Carmel Valley. Her husband Kipp was busy designing the new Ventana Inn. She traces both her interest in activism and her preservationist bent to her childhood growing up in Chicago. My mother never saw a civil liberties march she didnt want to join, Stewart laughs. And growing up in the big city, Stewart relished her times spent at summer camp. To me, it was just a breath of heaven. The out-of-doors just had this tremendous sense of beauty and freedom. And thats what I loved about Big Sur. Zad Leavy first became interested in conservation as a Boy Scout growing up in Santa Monica. Later, as a successful attorney in West Los Angeles, he took regular camping trips to the Big Sur coast with his wife and two children. We camped in Washington, Northern California, all over, Leavy says. But Big Sur was our favorite. Such a favorite, that Leavy bought property in 1972 above what is now Ventana Inn. He began building a house in 1974 and moved his family to their new home a year later. Roger Newells father arrived in Big Sur in 1925 and purchased land in the 1930s. Young Rogers earliest memories of growing up were on the 350-acre Newell family ranch, a southern neighbor to Deetjens Big Sur Inn. I was actually born in Monterey hospital, so Im a local kid, says Newell. Going to school in the Carmel school district back when the Sunset Center housed the K-7 classrooms, Newell was inspired by his sixth grade teacher Bill Blee, a former forest ranger, and Blees botanist friend. Between the two of them, they formed a junior Audubon society, and some of us kids quickly became members, Newell recalls. We would take field trips and be shown all the fascinating things about nature that these two men had to share.From left - Roger Newell, Martin Forster, Beverly Newell, Lloyd Addleman, Nancy Hopkins, Sherna Stewart, Peter Harding, Pat Addleman, Zad Leavy Not pictured here are: Laela Leavy, Suzann Forster and Sam Hopkins.Newell appreciated the wildness of his homeland. As I grew up in Big Sur, I always stayed with the preservation perspective, he says. I never had any aspirations to see the family ranch divided up to make money. It was always to retain it in a natural state as much as possible. MEETING OF THE MINDS The Land Trust began their conservation efforts by gathering at members homes. Very often they met at the Hopkins residence, sometimes at the Leavys house or at the Stewarts Coastlands home, and occasionally on the Newell ranch. These meetings generally took place monthly, but, Leavy says, When things were happening, it was more often. The Hopkins home was a favorite meeting spot, recalls Newell, because of its perch atop Partington Ridge. And we had great potluck gatherings, which is the best of the best in food, he remembers. The potluck is the way people get together in Big Sur. You bring something special, and everybody else brings their special items. You end up with a gourmet spread of food.4continued on page 7continued from page 4The early meetings at Stewarts house were quite informal and open to anyone who wanted to attend, Sherna recounts. We just batted around ideas. People were enthusiastic about so many places that might be included. We would spread out there on the lawn and, you know, talk it through, adds Leavy. Wed just discuss how to go about promoting the organization, encouraging people to protect their lands. I did work on the Land Trusts first brochure, shares Stewart. I did the first logo the Land Trust had. It was sort of an abstract view from my front porch. And then a little while later, my husband did a painting that they would use as a poster. Leavy recalls that the early days involved a lot of research, a lot of fundraising, a lot of talking, contacting people all over the state, connecting with other land trusts, with other agencies that would assist us, state, federal and local. EARLY SUCCESS STORY The Big Sur Land Trust thought big from the very start. Their first acquisition concerned over 3,000 acres now known as the Gamboa Ranch. Even more impressive, according to Leavy, the deal was closed in an exhilarating 48 hours over the telephone. That transaction was reported all over the nation, he says. The way we did it became a formula of how to do it and was used as an example of bringing in a conservation buyer, namely David Packard. Apparently, a group of developers from Oklahoma were also bidding on the property at that time. We just barely sneaked under the radar, says Leavy. We just barely beat them. Land Trust board member Lloyd Addleman knew David Packard through his own electronics business and had already been in contact with him regarding the idea of working with the Land Trust to preserve the property. Then Leavy fortuitously happened to telephone the land owners in New York at the precise moment they were meeting to discuss what to do with the property, then known as the Potter Ranch. And at that meeting, I said, Well, what do we need to do? Lets wrap it up, Leavy recalls. Leavy explains that although Packard wound up owning the property, the land was forever protected because the Land Trust owned the conservation easement. A lot of it can be seen from Highway 1, says Leavy. So the public benefits by having that area kept pristine. LOST AND FOUND Founders Lloyd Addleman and Nancy Hopkins, instrumental members of the Land Trust from the start, have since passedaway and are deeply missed. Tragically, the Hopkins and the Leavys homes, two of the first three meeting places for The Big Sur Land Trust, were destroyed in the Basin Complex Fire. Leavy had lived in his residence for 25 years until he sold it in 2000 and moved to Carmel. It survived four fires, Leavy says. In this one, it finally went. On the Newell property, the main ranch house was saved, but the fire destroyed all four other historic buildings on the site. The wedding of Newells oldest son was to take place on the property on the 28th of June, and if it werent for the wedding planning, the ranch house would have burned as well, according to Newell. In preparation for the wedding, a tent camping site was being set up for many of the grooms friends, says Newell. My contribution was to clear land, cut brush beyond the usual clearing process each year, and open up the road, which had been enclosed with brush that hadnt been cleared out over the years. The firefighters complimented us, he says. They said this is a model of a home that is defensible. Sherna Stewarts former home, occupying the ocean side of Highway 1, was spared by the fire. And whether its the early founders pioneering energy still imbuing the premises or just the incredibly good fortune of The Big Sur Land Trust, the Stewart house is a gift that keeps on giving. It came as a wonderful surprise to Stewart when her former home was donated to the Land Trust in 2006. After 25 years on the property, the Stewarts had sold it in 2000 to David Whitney and Phillip Johnson. Johnson passed away and Whitney, unbeknownst to Stewart, had bequeathed the property to the Land Trust upon his own death in January 2005. Proceeds from the Land Trusts sale of the home created the David Whitney Legacy Fund for Big Sur. The $100,000 the Land Trust donated to the Big Sur Fire Relief Fund, which helped so many displaced community members in their time of need, came out of the Whitney Fund. It was just such an amazing coincidence, says Stewart. Just such an amazing unfolding because of the way this house had been so involved in the early stages of the Land Trust. From their small but ambitious beginnings to becoming a model among land trusts throughout the United States, The Big Sur Land Trusts founders are proud of what they started 30 years ago around the dining room table. Says Newell, I think the biggest impact that we could have on the Big Sur coast is in place. So that is satisfying to me.DAVID WHITNEY LEGACY FUNDDEPLOYED IN SERVICE OF THE BIG SUR COMMUNITYThanks to the generosity of the late Big Sur resident David Whitney who bequeathed his Big Sur home to the Land Trust for sale and use of the proceeds The Big Sur Land Trust has established The David Whitney Legacy Fund for promoting healthy lands and communities in Big Sur. The Land Trust has spent the past year looking at the most pragmatic uses for the fund in light of its land and water conservation mission as well as its new vision for supporting and sustaining viable human communities within the context of healthy landscapes. BSLT established a group of Big Sur advisors to help sort through all of the worthy projects and needs within the community and leverage these new resources to maximum effect. Long term, the Land Trust will support projects that effectively address critical conservation and community needs, while also building local capacity for sustaining those efforts. The Land Trust is proud to announce the deployment of $50,000 from The David Whitney Legacy Fund to 10 local organizations. Grants of $5,000 apiece will help further their important work on behalf of the citizens and community of Big Sur. THE RECIPIENTS ARE: Big Sur Health Center Big Sur Historical Society Mid-Coast Fire Brigade Captain Cooper School Big Sur Grange Monterey County Housing, Inc. (for development of workforce housing in Big Sur under the advisement of the Big Sur Workforce Housing Group) Pacific Valley School Big Sur Arts Initiative Henry Miller Library Campamento Rancho Rico The Land Trust also contributed $100,000 from the Whitney Legacy Fund to the Coast Property Owners Association's Fire Relief Fund and $67,000 to fund the development of the Big Sur Volunteer Fire Brigades Community Wildfire Protection Plan. (See Rising From the Ashes on page one for more information.) 7In MemoriamLloyd A. AddlemanLloyd Andrew Addleman, a founding member of The Big Sur Land Trust, died June 5 at the age of 81 after a long battle with cancer. Lloyd graduated from Ohio State University with a degree in electrical engineering and was an Army Air Force veteran of World War II. In 1956, he and three other engineers and physicists from Sylvania started Microwave Engineering Laboratories of Palo Alto, conducting their first research and experiments in a Prohibition-era wine cellar on the Los Altos Hills property where Addleman was also building his family home. MELabs grew with a customer base that included the Air Force, the Atomic Energy Commission, Motorola and General Dynamics Corp., with early projects focusing in the area of microwave surveillance receivers. Among its products were Stanford Universitys radio telescope, designed to track and record the suns radio waves, and the first attach case mobile telephone for Carry Phone Corp. Addleman retired from MELabs in 1970 at the age of 43 and began building a new home on the Big Sur coast, where his interest in preserving Big Surs wilderness led him to become a founding member of The Big Sur Land Trust. He was a friend of David Packard and was instrumental in securing the Land Trusts conservation easement on the Gamboa Ranch. In 1982, he and his son, David Addleman, launched Cyberware, a company that pioneered three-dimensional digitizing technology, which became a standard resource for special effects in the movie industry, employed in such films as Terminator 2, The Abyss, and Jurassic Park. He was featured in Fortune magazine as a young wizard and egghead in 1960, honored as an Outstanding Young Man by the California State Chamber of Commerce in 1961, and in 1995 received an Academy Award for Cyberwares efforts in special effects. Addleman enjoyed family camping trips, building the family homes, and sailboat racing on Monterey Bay. His wife Pat still resides at the home they built in Big Sur.Luminous as the Moon and Starsby Ric Mastensome stories come linked together like railroad cars like death and an old abandoned stove I was just a kid rummaging through the garbage and junk people dumped off Highway 1 onto our property busted appliances rusted machinery car parts a constant aggravation to my father but luminous as the moon and stars for me one day a beat up old stove graced the roadside bushes in those days mercury was used in the oven thermostat just the kind of treasure an 11 year old could salvage and use to make dimes shine headed back to the house quicksilver cupped in my palm for the very first time and for no apparent reason it came to me that one day I would die the scary thought falling on me like a bomb shutting me down nailing my feet to the ground then as any kid would do I put the prize the precious ball of mercury back on the front burner shoving death aside after all nearly a lifetime would pass before my oncologist would say: " and when the time comes, and it will come I promise you a graceful end." nearly a lifetime would pass until Id need to remember the luminous moon and stars and the childhood trick of focusing on the quicksilver at handRic MastenCelebrated poet Ric Masten, Renaissance man, unofficial poet laureate of Carmel, and author of 23 books of verse and drawings, died May 9 at his Palo Colorado home after a nine-year battle with prostate cancer. He was 78. A Carmel native, Masten discovered in March that the cancer had spread throughout his body and into his brain. After digesting this grave news, his reaction was, How do you go out dancing? By doing what youve always done being yourself. Being himself was a multifaceted endeavor for Masten, who was a singer-songwriter, a painter, an actor, a quick-draw pistol shooter, a carpenter and a high school track star. His rich life experiences were reflected in his work. Ric Mastens poems take us to the heart of the human experience because they come from the heart of a good and wise man, said PBS commentator Bill Moyers, one of many famous Masten fans. It is impossible to read his work without being grateful to a man who takes life as it comes and gives back better than he gets. Masten was a member of The Big Sur Land Trust since 1998. Many times, he read his poetry and told his stories, entertaining the crowds at the Land Trusts Land and Legacy Circle annual get-togethers. His work continues to inspire us all, connecting the places we love with the lives we live.land and legacyCirCle MeMbersDawn Anderson Carl Pohlhammer & Anita Arrellano ramon Ayres rick & Margaret baldwin bonnie brooks Phillip butler and barbara baldock Carmen Chandler Max & Cynthia Chaplin Dick & betty Dalsemer Donald & Janet Davidson Charitable remainder trust norma Davis John & esther Dolan Karen & Philip Drayer susan DuCoeur Kent & lyn evans steven & Fila evanson Meade Fischer sean & becky Flavin Marjorie & Fong Folsom Mary r. Gale Mr. & Mrs. valerio Giusi 8e land and legacy Circle honors and acknowledges those families and individuals who include e big sur land trust in their charitable estate plans. ese legacy gifts make a personal and lasting statement by protecting our glorious, irreplaceable landscapes for generations to come.CircleJack Glendening sara harkins Diane e. harmon John & Marcia harter ruth hartmann Art haseltine Peter heublein trish hibben Joanne hively rod & Alma holmgren Mrs. Jeanne s. holmquist Catherine M. horne elsa Con & bucky Jackson Jim Jeery robert Kohn Gary Kuris erling lagerholm Zad & laela leavy John liebert Fred and Patricia Maurer John & Jane McCoy blaine McDonough Jack Meadors, iiiAlice Moser Don & laura newmark Jeanette otter Jo owen Mr. & Mrs. lou Pavesi lana Price suzanne & Allen rice-spiers virginia ruth George n. somero Cynthia M. spencer barbara spring harrison omson Dr. & Mrs. Mike turbow John D. Wachs John e. Warner bonni & Joel Weinstein Michael & Marilynn Whitcomb Margaret Williams Katharine Wilson William & birgit Winans elizabeth Wright Carol young linda ZinnReprinted with permission. To learn about Ric Masten and read more of his wonderful work, go to www.ricmasten.net.news briefs2008 BIG SUR ARTIST-IN-RESIDENCE ANNOUNCEDBSLT CLOSES IN ON ACQUIRING CARMEL RIVER SONGBIRD PRESERVEBay Area artist Laura Diamondstone was recently chosen for the 2008 Artist-in-Residence program, co-sponsored by The Big Sur Land Trust and the Big Sur Arts Initiative. Diamondstone, a mixed-media artist and painter, was granted an eight-week residency with free housing in an artist studio located on the Land Trusts Glen Deven Ranch, plus a $3,000 stipend provided by the Arts Initiative. My art studio borders San Franciscos most afflicted ghetto, says Diamondstone. I am conscious of the ecologic impact and the personal and environmental hazards of my art-making and attempt to compensate by including found materials otherwise en route to landfill. Diamondstone was selected by a committee comprised of Big Sur artists, community members, and Big Sur Arts Initiative representatives. With Laura being in an urban environment, it's very easy to find objects that you can use for your work, notes Karen Blades, executive director of the Arts Initiative, explaining part of the reason why the selection committee chose Diamondstone. We felt that once shes put into a rural, natural environment, that might stretch her work a bit. During her residency, Diamondstone plans to create series with ash, natural earth pigments, and organic materials of Big Sur to construct and form my paintings. Diamondstone will live in the artist studio that Virginia Mudd once used as a writing sanctuary. Mrs. Mudd, a former Board member of the Land Trust, and her husband Dr. Seeley Mudd were longtime, generous contributors to the Land Trust and, upon their passing, left the property to BSLT. We are supporting this program because of Virginias heartfelt desire to have artists inspired by Big Sur, says Lana Weeks, BSLTs Director of Philanthropy. The residency begins September 29th and concludes November 21st. The Arts Initiative and the Land Trust will host a reception to view her completed artwork in December. Details for this event will be available on the Big Sur Arts Initiative website, www.bigsurarts.org.he dream of establishing a Carmel River Songbird Preserve is getting closer to reality. The site of the future preserve is the 12-acre McWhorter property located on Schulte Road in Carmel Valley. It is home to at least 43 types of birds, as well as other sensitive species, including the California redlegged frog, Western pond turtle and steelhead trout. By acquiring this property, the Land Trust can preserve critical riparian and in-stream habitat on the lower Carmel River, while securing a key stretch of the Carmel River Parkway. The Parkway project aims to extend a trail along the southern side of the river between Valley Greens Drive and Palo Corona Regional Park, offering hikers several miles of walkways to explore state and regional parklands. The Ventana Wildlife Society, working in partnership with BSLT, currently operates a small ornithological laboratory on the proposed Songbird Preserve, banding birds for the past six years. This lab and its important research, which includes monitoring one-third of the threatened riparian bird species in California, would be expanded and made permanent once the acquisition is complete. Bird number 96955 stands out in Jessica Griffiths mind. Griffiths, a wildlife biologist for the Ventana Wildlife Society, has banded birds in the preserve since the projects inceptionin 2003. The 96955 refers to the last five digits of the birds nine-numbered leg band. This particular Swainsons thrush has been coming back every year for five years, says Griffiths, describing the thrush as plainlooking, but with a beautiful flute like song. It shows us that songbirds are capable of navigating extreme distances and returning with clockwork precision to the exact same quarter mile square patch of land without any assistance. Griffiths notes that the Swainsons thrush requires riparian habitats and returns every year from Central and South America to breed on the Carmel River. If one year it came back and that habitat was no longer there, the bird wouldn't have anywhere else to go. They're really dependent on the same patches of land, she says. Along the Carmel River, the Swainsons thrush could be the proverbial canary in a coal mine. Its a designated Riparian Focal Species, which is a bird that exclusively inhabits and is significantly connected to the river environment. If you have an area with Swainson's thrushes, you know you have a healthy riparian habitat, says Griffiths, They can be seen as sort of an indicator species for the health of the habitat. If the Swainson's thrush were to disappear from the Carmel River, that would be a very bad sign. Fortunately, thanks to restoration efforts by Monterey Peninsula Water Management District in the area, the number of Swainsons thrushes is slightly increasing. Says Griffiths, I think that really speaks to the importance of land preservation. The Land Trust has secured 50 percent of the funds to obtain the site and now seeks the remaining half million dollars to complete the purchase and convey the property for public use.Jessica Griffiths and Betsy Reeves with a Chestnut-backed Chickadee.SPACE INVADERSFire is an intrinsic part of the natural ecology of the Big Sur coast and has been for thousands of years. The native plants have adapted to life with wildfires, with many species benefiting from fire activity. Indeed, some natives actually require a fire incident to re-seed. Natives generally bounce back quickly over the few years following a wildfire. Indigenous animals are often spared, and even smaller animals whose populations take a bigger hit rebound quickly with access to new young plant life in the area. However, the Land Trust now must deal with the potential for non-native, invasive species intruding upon the landscapes. Typically, when you disturb the soil in an area, many invasive plants can take advantage of that disturbance, says BSLTs Conservation Director Donna Meyers. These invasives may move into the meadows and areas where bare soils are exposed due to fire breaks. Were going to need to manage that, because most of our properties are preserved for native plants. On the Arroyo Seco and Mitteldorf properties, Meyers expects to find an increase in invasive thistle and other non-natives whose seeds may have piggy-backed their way onto the properties on the bulldozers. We dont know exactly what kind of species were going to end up with, she says. We may also be surprised by natives rebounding significantly. We havent seen this type of event before. Researchers have already discovered fresh green growth occurring in much of the burned areas. If winter rains start slowly, the recovering vegetation may assist in protecting slopes from erosion.BSLT COMPLETES STRATEGIC PLANIn April 2008, The Big Sur Land Trust completed its new strategic plan, with guidance from organizational consultant Dr. Mary Hiland and input from key community stakeholders. The plan outlines objectives for broadening positive impacts and expanding partnerships within the community in service of the Land Trust's mission (see BSLT Newsletter, Fall 07). The Land Trust will introduce its strategic plan, the culmination of three years of work, over the coming months.PHOTOGRAPHING THE BIG SUR FIREFine art photographer Kodiak Greenwood stayed behind the lines during the Big Sur fire to help fight the blaze and capture the dramatic images in our cover story Rising from the Ashes. Our thanks to Kodiak for donating the use of these images for our newsletter.BSLT WEBSITE UNDER CONSTRUCTION: EXCUSE OUR CYBERDUST!BSLTs website www.bigsurlandtrust.org is undergoing a major renovation. The upcoming dynamic, user-friendly and secure site will include many interactive features. The redesign will better reflect the Land Trusts new direction of reconnecting people with the land, and highlight our expanded network of partners who make our work possible. Launch date is November 20, 2008. In the meantime, please call us at 831.625.5523 with any questions about our upcoming events and activities.9