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Annual Review 2008

2008 was a very busy year for the Sierra Club Angeles Chapter. From history-making land preservation, amazing local and national outings, to unprecedented ‘get out the vote’ campaigns, our members proved once again their boundless energy, determination
and passion make a difference. Take a look at a few of the highlights that showcase our activists exploring, enjoying, protecting and preserving our planet!

Angeles Chapter Sierra Club Annual Review 2008
View near Tejon Ranch ©2008 Kent Schwitkis

President Barack Obama
President of the United States Barack Obama
©2008 Obama Campaign
Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas leads community members on a Sierra Club hike in Kenneth Hahn State Park
Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas leads community members on a Sierra Club hike in Kenneth Hahn State Park
©2008 Ian Foxx

Political Victories

On the front lines of the historic 2008 election, the Sierra Club worked hard to elect Barack Obama and win key congressional races. The Angeles Chapter adopted the battleground state of Nevada and helped turn it into a “blue” state. Nearly 100 Chapter members traveled to Nevada to participate in voter turnout efforts with the Road to Victory campaign and the Obama campaign to make calls and walk precincts.

Locally, the Orange County Political Committee completed early endorsements of previously endorsed city council candidates. With more time to make use of the Sierra Club endorsement, all five candidates were re-elected. In Los Angeles, activists successfully campaigned for pro-environment candidate Mark Ridley-Thomas to the County Supervisor’s 2nd District seat. The Chapter also engaged in the election of board members of municipal water districts – cementing the Sierra Club’s involvement in the urgent work of protecting our water resources in the L.A. County.

Sierra Club-endorsed Measure R passed overwhelmingly to fund $40 billion for traffic relief and transportation upgrades across LA County over the next 30 years, create more than 210,000 new construction jobs and infuse an estimated $32 billion back into the local economy.

A piece of California’s wild beautypreserved at San Mateo Creek
A piece of California’s wild beauty preserved at San Mateo Creek.
Angeles Chapter archives

Conservation Victories

Toll Road Rejected and Park Protected
Capping a ten year campaign, Angeles Chapter activists with the Friends of the Foothills Campaign in Orange County rejoiced as the Commerce Department ruled to uphold the California Coastal Commission’s rejection of a proposed toll road at San Onofre State Beach. The proposed 16-mile road would have cut through California’s 5th most popular state park, and would have destroyed nearly 60% of the park including the San Mateo Campground, San Mateo Creek, the renowned Trestles surf beach, the Donna O’Neill Land Conservancy and Panhe, a Native American sacred site.

Sierra Club Volunteers Save 240,000 Acres of Pristine Land at Tejon Ranch
The Tejon-Tehachapi Task Force won a historic conservation victory preserving 90% of Tejon Ranch in northern Los Angeles County. The agreement protects the unique and critically important ecological treasures at Tejon. The Ranch is the largest contiguous private property remaining in California. This truly unique landscape marks the intersection of the Sierras, the Coastal Range, the San Joaquin Valley and the Mojave Desert and will protect habitat of the California condor as well as a variety of other endangered and threatened animals.

Clean Trucking Breaks the Mold in the Los Angeles Port
The Port of Los Angeles adopted a Clean Trucks Program, which offers a model to replace the current system of more than fifteen thousand independent contractors and a thousand trucking companies. The Harbor Vision Task Force built a strong alliance with labor unions to achieve this victory. This plan will make the trucking companies asset-based, owning their own trucks and hiring their own drivers.

Angeles Chapter Sierra Club Annual Review 2008
Clockwise from left: Inner City Outings youth enjoy the Mist Trail along Vernal Falls in Yosemite. ©2008 Shirley Hickman. The Black Hills trip visited Mt. Rushmore. ©2008 Mike Sappingfield. Outings leader having fun on the slopes. ©2008 Eva Eilenberg.

Outings

The Angeles Chapter entities sponsored over 6,000 outings in 2008. Trip leaders take advantage of all seasons and landscapes with year-round trips to local areas, statewide, nationally and abroad. Whether enjoying winter activities like snowshoeing and cross-country skiing, or warm weather pursuits like sailing and backpacking, the Angeles Chapter outings program truly has something for everyone.

Offering great conservation and educational value as well as a whole lot of fun, the Angeles Chapter Fundraising Committee organized trips around the globe and throughout the U.S. This year a new trip to the Black Hills of South Dakota included Mt. Rushmore, the Crazy Horse Memorial and pronghorn antelope, American buffalo and prairie dogs. Without the support of our adventurous Sierra Club members, these trips would not be possible. The popularity of our trips just keeps on growing!

Inner City Outings (ICO) trips allow inner city youth to visit natural areas and develop an appreciation for the environment. In 2009, a high school camping trip to Yosemite National Park provided the opportunity for students to fulfill the Sierra Club mission: to enjoy, explore and protect wild places of the earth with two nights of camping, hiking and assisting with a cleanup project in the Hetch Hetchy area.

Volunteers provide outreach on Earth Day
Volunteers provide outreach on Earth Day. ©2008 Jennifer Robinson

Membership Outreach

Sierra Club members keep the Angeles Chapter strong and our conservation, political and outings programs successful. The Membership Committee leaders worked hard to keep Angeles Chapter the largest chapter in the country, sponsoring Newcomer Events in Orange County, Pasadena, and Griffith Park to recruit new members and inform current members about the many projects and activities supported at the Angeles Chapter.

Our outreach extended to exciting opportunities such as hosting the film “Encounters at the End of the World” at the Los Angeles Film Festival and “Food Fight” at the AFI Film Festival. The Angeles Chapter was pleased to honor TV personality Huell Howser at our Annual Banquet for his outstanding contributions in spreading public awareness of California’s environment.

2009 is already off to a great start!

With a successful new trip to Arizona, an exciting partnership with O!Burger restaurant, a record-breaking number of Earth Day events and the passing of the Omnibus Wilderness Bill that added two wilderness areas to the San Gabriel Mountains and 2 million acres across the United States, 2009 promises to be another action-packed year!

Looking Ahead

Conservation efforts will be active in response to the growing issues of global climate change. The Global Warming and Energy Committee continues its work to promote renewable energy and new “green” jobs locally while Water Committee activists address water supply concerns related to increased demand and reduced availability as global temperatures rise.

The Political Committees will continue efforts to endorse environmental champions and embrace the opportunity of a new administration to support legislation that protects the environment.

Adventurous travelers may enjoy trips to Tibet, Costa Rica or the Caribbean, or choose to stay closer to home with trips to Northern California’s Redwood State Parks, the Channel Islands or Alaska – just to name a few!

Angeles Chapter Sierra Club Annual Review 2008
Clockwise from left: Margerie Glacier breaks to form icebergs in Glacier Bay, Alaska. ©2006 Derek Wallentinsen, ShadowCaster Press. Exploring the Costa Rican rainforest by boat. ©2008 Mike Sappingfield. Grizzly bears frolic in the river. ©2006 Derek Wallentinsen, ShadowCaster Press.

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