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The wildfire prevention-focused Last Chance Survival Simulation Workshop held on the last Saturday in January at the Tri-County Fairfrounds in Bishop, was the best attended workshop to date hosted by the Eastern Sierra Wildfire Alliance. 

This Valentine's Day Month, each of us can show our LOVE for the Eastern Sierra by simply showing up and getting involved!

Recently, I have witnessed the love of many local residents for the Eastern Sierra through their community engagement.

Last week, I attended a Meet the Candidates Forum for one of three Inyo County Supervisorial Districts (Districts 2, 4 & 5) where candidates are vying for a seat on the County Board of Supervisors. The house was packed, the questions asked by attendees were well thought out and articulated, and members of our local media—who have been doing a great job of letting the public know about all the different candidate forums happening throughout Inyo and Mono Counties prior to the March elections—were present.

I was also grateful to see many avid winter sports enthusiasts attend the Backcountry Film Festival, hosted last Friday and Saturday in Bishop and Mammoth by Friends of the Inyo, and featuring short documentaries selected by the Winter Wildlands Alliance. Also a fundraiser, the festival supports our efforts to offer SnowSchool for free to local fifth graders, and our community generously gave toward this cause by purchasing tickets to the festival, as well as by buying drinks, raffle tickets and FOI merchandise. According to Stewardship Director Lindsay Butcher, who organized the festival with help from our entire staff and board members who live in the Eastern Sierra, after expenses, we were able to raise some $4,500 to put on SnowSchool this year for kids who often lack even such basic snow gear as gloves, jackets and hats. Thank you!

And last Saturday, I participated in a daylong training on wildfire awareness and prevention called Last Chance Survival Simulation Workshop. Held at the Tri-County Fairgrounds and organized by the Eastern Sierra Wildfire Alliance, the free workshop provided a wealth of information to Inyo, Mono and Alpine County residents thanks to a partnership with the Resource Conservation District and Fire Safe Council of Greater San Diego, which helped design the workshop together with the Bureau of Land Management and came to Bishop for the occasion.  

Also present were the Inyo County Sheriff’s Office, the Whitebark Institute, and others. Amid the large, attentive audience, I even spotted a couple of the candidates running for Inyo County District Supervisor positions, and ran into one of Friends of the Inyo’s two newest Board members, Robin Bolser, the owner of Great Basin Bakery, which provided lunch. To my surprise, Robin was also a presenter at the workshop in her role as Chair of the Wheeler Crest Firesafe Council (see photo below).

As a survivor of the Fairview Fire in West Bishop two summers ago, and of a high-rise dormitory fire when I was an undergraduate student at USC in the 1980s, I am grateful that many organizations are educating Eastern Sierra residents about wildfire safety and home strengthening. (For more information about wildfire and disaster preparedness, and to sign up to receive emergency alerts, simply visit the Ready Inyo or Ready Mono websites. To learn about how wildfires in California have changed in recent times, refer to the "Fire" article in the Spring 2022 issue of FOI's Jeffrey Pine Journal Magazine.)


Robin Bolser, local businesswoman and Chair of the Wheeler Crest Firesafe Council, presenting at the Jan. 27 Last Chance Survival Simulation Workshop at the Tri-County Fairgrounds. Robin recently joined Friends of the Inyo's Board of Directors.

From just the few examples above, it is easy to see that there are lots of community engagement opportunities to be found in the Eastern Sierra. Let's take advantage of them! We love this place, after all, and especially in February, "The Month of Love,” our community engagement can be our “Valentine’s Day Gift” to this incomparable region we are fortunate enough to call home.

In this issue of The Juniper, you will find plenty of opportunities to get involved, including:

  • Nonpartisan Meet the Candidates Forums for the Inyo County Fifth District Race tonight (1/31) in Lone Pine, and for the Fourth District race Friday evening (2/2) in Big Pine;
  • The chance to submit public comments to the Bureau of Land Management regarding the Control-Silver Peak Powerline Project by February 12, and an update to the 2012 Western Solar Plan by April 18 (see our action alerts); and to the U.S. Forest Service regarding its Environmental Impact Statement for the Polaris Exploration Project on the Nevada side of the Bodie Hills by February 20 (per the link to the latest issue of the Bodie Hills Conservation Partnership Newsletter);
  • A continuing volunteering opportunity to practice citizen science by participating in winter data collection while recreating in the Inyo National Forest;
  • Information and a link to register for the second online session in a yearlong Water Learning Series presented by Walking Water (It's FREE, and the February 8 session focuses on Los Angeles' water management system);
  • The latest announcement about FOI's Owens Lake Bird Festival;
  • Paid internship and work opportunities with the Pinyon Community Climate Action Project (the Climate Resilience Summer Field Intern application deadline is tomorrow, Feb. 1; the Field Ecology Technician application deadline, Feb. 15);
  • And more!

Happy reading—and if you like what you read, happy sharing! 


Louis (Lou) Medina
Communications and Philanthropy Director

Remember: When scrolling through our newsletter, you might come across a message at the bottom that says [Message clipped] and/or the hyperlink "View Entire Message." Be sure to click on the link to keep reading, as more news will be displayed. This is done to prevent bandwidth issues in e-mail delivery. Thank you.  

Welcome to the Board! 

Speaking of community engagement, Friends of the Inyo is proud to welcome the following individuals to its Board of Directors in 2024. 

Nancee Murray

Nancee is enjoying retirement after 28 years of service with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Office of the General Counsel, where her career focused mostly on water rights and water quality. She has a Business Economics  degree from UC Santa Barbara and a Juris Doctor degree from UC Davis. Nancee spent several years in private practice focusing on environmental law, and was also an Assistant Attorney General for the Federated States of Micronesia in the early 1990s, as that group of islands became a new nation. She and her sons have spent many summer vacations hiking, fishing and recreating in the Mammoth, Bishop and Mono Basin areas. A native Californian, Nancee now lives in Sacramento and enjoys hiking, backpacking, bird watching, and planting native plants.


Robin Bolser

Robin has lived in Florida, Illinois, Ohio and North Carolina, and she has found a forever home in the Eastern Sierra. Educated as a philosopher and marine biologist, she moved to Santa Barbara in 1997 and discovered Mammoth Lakes in 1998. After visiting the area repeatedly to recreate, she decided to leave her career (and Santa Barbara) behind to start a family and a small business in Bishop: the Great Basin Bakery. Having lived here for over two decades and having married a Bishop-born guy, she is committed to the wellbeing of communities and landscapes of the Eastern Sierra. She brings a passion for the outdoors, for environmental issues (particularly climate change) and a pragmatic approach to community partnerships that usually involves baked goods.

Two Action Alerts!

Make the Bureau of Land Management Aware of Your Priorities Regarding Solar Energy Development in the Western U.S. Submit Your Public Comment by April 18!

What's Happening?

The Bureau of Land Management’s Draft Utility-Scale Solar Energy Development Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (Draft Solar Programmatic EIS) is available for public comment on the BLM National NEPA Register (ePlanning), as detailed in the Notice of Availability published in the Federal Register. This Programmatic EIS effort would update the BLM’s 2012 Western Solar Plan to support current and future national clean energy goals, long-term energy security, climate resilience, and improved conservation outcomes.

What Can I Do?

Submit Your Comments

The public is encouraged to submit written comments no later than April 18, 2024. Written comments related to the Draft Solar Programmatic EIS may be submitted by any of the following methods:

  1. Website:  https://eplanning.blm.gov/eplanning-ui/project/2022371/510
  2. Email:  solar@blm.gov
  3. Mail:  BLM, Attn: Draft Solar EIS, 1849 C Street NW, Washington, DC 20240

Get Informed and Ask Questions

The BLM will be hosting two virtual and six in-person, open-house public meetings during the comment period to provide information and answer questions. For the public meeting schedule and to submit a comment, visit the BLM National NEPA Register (ePlanning) website. Public meeting information is available on the site’s How to Get Involved page.

The BLM's data viewer provides interactive maps of the alternatives included in the Draft Solar Programmatic EIS to aid in your review.

Questions may be directed to solar@blm.gov.

Let Others Know

Please forward this message to any party that might be interested in this effort.

Stay Tuned for Further Guidance from Friends of the Inyo

FOI is going to engage deeply with this process and work to protect our ecosystems, with the understanding that a renewable energy future is also an important goal. 


- Map courtesy of Southern California Edison

Control-Silver Peak Transmission Line Replacement Project: Submit Your Public Comment by February 12!

What's Happening?

The Bureau of Land Management is seeking public comment on the Control-Silver Peak project proposal to update existing transmission lines in Inyo and Mono counties. Southern California Edison proposes to replace and consolidate structures to increase ground clearance on two existing 55-kilovolt transmission lines along approximately 61 miles of the Control-Silver Peak lines, which would meet California Public Utility Commission standards and bring the lines into compliance. 

The public scoping comment period for the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is currently open and will remain so until the deadline of February 12, 2024.

What Can I Do?

Public comments can be submitted in the following ways:

  1. Email comments to: BLM_CA_CA_TLRR_ControlSilverPeak@blm.gov;
  2. Mail or hand deliver comments in an envelope labeled “Control-Silver Peak Project EIS” to Joan Patrovsky, Project Manager, Bureau of Land Management, California Desert District Office, 1201 Bird Center Drive, Palm Springs, CA 92262; or
  3. Fax comments to 760-833-7199.

Make Your Vote Count!

With Inyo County Supervisor primary elections for Districts 2, 4 and 5 right around the corner, our Eastern Sierra neighbors have been busy organizing "Meet the Candidates" forums to help voters get informed about candidates and their stance on issues the public cares about. Friends of the Inyo celebrates these nonpartisan efforts as part of the democratic process. 

In the fliers below, you will see that there are two upcoming Candidate Forums: one for District 5 in Lone Pine tonight, Weds., Jan. 31, at 5 p.m., and another for District 4 in Big Pine this Fri., Feb. 2, at 6 p.m. The Big Pine Town Hall is at the corner of Dewey and Hall Streets.   

County elections are important. County Supervisors play an important role in not only adopting and administering policy, they set and approve budgets, make decisions about planning, housing, economic development, parks, recreation, community events, infrastructure, roads, transportation, and law enforcement services for the county proper and unincorporated communities within the county.

Districts 5 and 4, respectively, are the largest and second largest supervisorial districts in Inyo County. District 5 ranges from Independence, the County Seat, all the way to the Nevada border to the east, beyond the towns of Shoshone and Tecopa, and south to the Kern and San Bernardino County Line; District 4 spans from the Rovana and 40 Acres area to the Aberdeen and Black Rock area.

Anybody who has comments, concerns or questions for these Districts' County Supervisor Candidates, please come out to Lone Pine tonight, or to Big Pine on Friday night, and join the conversation!

Owens Lake Bird Festival:
Tickets on Sale Later in February!

Mark Your Calendars!

Once again on Earth Day Weekend, April 19-21, Friends of the Inyo will host its annual Owens Lake Bird Festival in Lone Pine. 

Tickets for this popular event will go on sale later in February, with "right of first purchase" available to Friends of the Inyo members before opening up sales to the general public. What does this mean? FOI supporters whose membership status is active (those who have donated $35 or more to Friends of the Inyo within the last year) will have the first opportunity to get tickets and sign up for tours. Stay tuned to your email inbox for our exclusive members-only announcement when ticket sales and birding tour sign-ups go live in just weeks! Please e-mail any questions about the Owens Lake Bird Festival to Kayla@friendsoftheinyo.org.

Want to make sure your membership is current and in good standing? Donate a minimum of $35 today by going to FriendsoftheInyo.org/Donate. Thank you! 

Festival Keynote Speaker Announcement

On the evening of the second day of the festival, Friends of the Inyo usually invites a keynote speaker to address different aspects of birding, as well as habitat/environmental protection. This year's Keynote Speaker will be Jolie Varela, founder and voice of Indigenous Women Hike, as well as the recently launched Native Birding Club here in the Eastern Sierra. She will be speaking on bringing indigenous voices into the world of birding and sharing her passion for birding with newcomers. 

FREE Online Series

This "Water Learning Series" from our friends at Walking Water continues in February, with the Second Session focusing on an overview of Los Angeles' water management system. Use the button below to go to our blog post and register for this or any subsequent session via eventbrite, as this exciting and highly informative series continues throughout 2024!  

Winter Data Collection

Do you crosscountry or backcountry ski or snowboard, snowshoe, or snowmobile in the Inyo National Forest? Do you want to help the US Forest Service make informed decisions about Winter Recreation and Over Snow Vehicle use?

Then, help Friends of the Inyo by taking part in some citizen science!

It's easy:

  1. First, check out the Colorado Mountain Club's Recreation Impact Monitoring System (CMC - RIMS) app here;
  2. Then take a peek at a two-minute online training video here.

After that, you'll be ready to record some observations and be able to boast about being a self-conscribed field researcher!

If you have any questions, please contact Lindsay@friendsoftheinyo.org.


Paid Fieldwork Alert!

Friends of the Inyo is pleased to announce our involvement in PiCCA, the Pinyon Community Climate Action Project. PiCCA is a multi-year community based, nonprofit and tribally coordinated research project studying the ability to improve social and ecological resilience to climate change in pinyon-juniper woodlands, which are found throughout our working area, including in the beautiful Bodie Hills, where climate change AND mining interests threaten this critical food source. 

PiCCA is hiring for two different fieldwork positions: Field Ecology Technician and Climate Field Resilience Intern. Both positions are paid and open to people from a variety of backgrounds. 

See flyers below. 


Coalition Newsletters


Want to support Friends of the Inyo? Consider making a donation online today!
Or help us Grow Our Circle of Friends...of the Inyo! by purchasing a membership for a friend or loved one. Click on the button or image below.  
Thank you for your generous support.

Friends of the Inyo appreciates the following organizations and local businesses for their generous monetary sponsorship of our programs:


Inyo Mono Alpine County
Cattlemen’s Association


Remember to update the address to our new location:

Friends of the Inyo
621 W. Line St., Suite 201
Bishop, CA 93514


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