Written by Len McKenzie —
MARIPOSA — California is blessed with a number of national forests, along with national and state parks and other open-space areas, that offer a multitude of activities and benefits to its residents and visitors.
Those benefits are among the primary reasons many people have chosen to live in Mariposa, Oakhurst and the other communities that populate the Sierra Nevada and its foothills.
Beginning in the 1980s, the U.S. Forest Service, the federal agency that manages national forests, has been required to have forest plans. Most of those plans must now be updated to comply with current U.S. law. The process to revise them, an exercise that encourages public participation, is now under way. National forest plan revisions provide a once-in-a-generation opportunity for conservationists to support sustainable, science-based practices on our public lands.
Sierra Forest Legacy (SFL), a coalition of conservation organizations with similar missions formed in 1996, works to protect, enhance and preserve the forests, wildlife, wildlands, rivers and streams of the Sierra by monitoring all proposed plans, projects, laws and actions that could negatively impact the long-term ecological health of Sierra Nevada forests and wildlife.
Working with its partners, SFL develops alternative proposals that would ensure the protection and restoration of threatened areas and species; and advances sound science to secure responsible and effective management of national forests, implementing its conservation mission through forest planning and forest restoration.
Sierra Forest Legacy is starting a multi-year campaign to ensure that the new forest plans in the Sierra Nevada protect threatened species, restore fire resilience, increase the amount of wilderness and more. In the Yosemite area, both the Stanislaus and Sierra national forests are revising their forest plans and will soon be seeking input from the public on how best to manage these forests.
Jamie Ervin, organizer for the Sierra Forest Legacy, will be in Mariposa on Thursday, Oct. 12, to offer a conservation perspective on the opportunities presented by the new forest plans and what citizens can do to help assure future protection of the places and species they care about the most.
Ervin’s slide presentation and discussion will take place at the monthly program of the Yosemite Area Audubon Society (YAAS) at the Mariposa Methodist Church parish hall on 6th Street in downtown Mariposa beginning at 7 p.m.
Jamie joined SFL in March 2017. A native of the hardwood forests of western North Carolina, he first experienced the Sierra as a teenager on a challenging east side backpacking trip, gaining a reverence for the alpine landscape.
Jamie holds a Master of Science in Natural Resources from the University of Vermont and a Master of Environmental Law and Policy from Vermont Law School. Before entering graduate school, he worked with private landowners on land protection and stewardship projects with the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy in Asheville, NC.
At SFL Jamie works with the Sierra Forest Coalition to organize campaigns supporting conservation initiatives in the national forests of the central Sierra. His work involves engaging citizens, organizations and communities in the forest planning process. Outside of work, he is an avid rock climber.
Like all YAAS programs, Ervin’s presentation is open and free to the public, although donations to defray program costs and to support the chapter’s local activities are welcome.
For more information about the program call 209-742-5579 or visit www.yosemiteaudubon.org.
YAAS also offers field trips to various destinations. Visit www.yosemiteaudubon.org to learn about the next available field trips.
The mission of the National Audubon Society, the namesake of noted 19th-century naturalist and bird painter John James Audubon; its state affiliate, Audubon California; and local chapters such as the Yosemite Area Audubon Society is to conserve and restore natural ecosystems, focusing on birds, other wildlife and their habitats for the benefit of humanity and the earth’s biological diversity.