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Happy New Year and THANK YOU for your continued support of Friends of the Inyo into 2024 — an exciting and important election year! Your generous giving to our 2023 Year-End Fundraising Campaign exceded our goal of $91,000 by a whopping $40,000, allowing us to raise more than $131,000, or 144% of our objective! We are truly grateful for the trust you place in us and our stewardship and advocacy activities in loving defense of the precious Eastern Sierra lands we hold so dear. We could not do our work without you. 

If that news excites you, please read on to see some of what we have in store to kick off the New Year right, including:

  • A message of hope for the year ahead from FOI Executive Director Wendy Schneider;
  • Congratulations to the City of Bishop's first Latino Mayor, Jose Garcia, a supporter of FOI's Hispanic outreach efforts;
  • An Action Alert to get informed and make your voice heard on Southern California Edison's proposed 61-mile long Control-Silver Peak Transmission Line Replacement Project;
  • News about two events FOI is hosting: the Backcountry Film Festival January 26-27 in Bishop and Mammoth, and the Owens Lake Bird Festival April 19-21 in Lone Pine;
  • Information and an opportunity to register for Walking Water's FREE online water learning series focusing on Los Angeles--a monthly series for 2024 that begins this month with guest panelists from the Owens Valley Indian Water Commission;
  • Paid work and internship opportunities with the Pinyon Community Climate Action Project (PiCCA);
  • Links to news from our coalition partners;
  • 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.  

Message from Friends of the Inyo's Executive Director Wendy Schneider

Dear Friends:

Contemplating 2024 brings me feelings of both hope and trepidation. 

The year that has just ended was an exceptionally challenging one for me and, it seems, for many others as well. 

At Friends of the Inyo, there were high points: A thrilling against-the-odds legal victory protecting Hot Creek, a very successful stewardship season and forward movement on the rehabilitation of the water-starved Owens valley ecosystem. There were also frustrating low points: Destructive proposals from giant mining companies just keep coming, and healthy ecosystems aren’t always the first priority of recreation management. 

So, while a fresh new year ahead offers welcome opportunities for positive resolutions and new beginnings, it is clear more challenges are on the way. These include not only defense against destructive extraction and ineffective land management, but difficult decisions around the transition away from fossil fuel energy, such as the placement of wind and solar facilities, and the transmission lines they necessitate, in fragile natural landscapes. And to add to the fun, we face a bitter upcoming election that is likely to bring out the worst in many. 

But 2024 will not see FOI focused solely on defending the status quo. Our plans include exciting proactive strategies, too. 

Perhaps the most exciting is that in 2023 we obtained funding to hire a water justice organizer to focus full time on achieving the more equitable distribution of water in Payahuunadu, also known as the Owens Valley. In partnership with our Indigenous and conservation community colleagues, we are in the process of bringing on board a dedicated and passionate individual to take on this important work. Payahuunadu’s water justice organizer will work to pressure decision makers to insist the area’s ecosystems have adequate high quality water to support communities, flora and fauna. This will require educating local and Los Angeles area folks regarding the truly dismal performance of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power over the last 30 years, and designing and implementing a new plan going forward—one that puts Payahuunadu’s water needs on equal footing with those of our neighbors to the south. 

We know we face an uphill battle, but we are determined to achieve a more equitable distribution of Payahuunadu’s most precious resource. We will apply the strategy employed by all successful initiatives to protect the environment: “Endless Pressure, Endlessly Applied” (as eco-warrior Brock Evans proclaimed in his autobiography).

To sum it up, in 2024, at FOI, we are going to keep doing what we need to do to take care of the land. Our policy team will keep defending against habitat destruction and toxification. Our stewardship team will keep teaching Leave No Trace and keeping popular trails in tip-top shape. 

We are more effective with your help! Please keep your support coming and, especially in 2024, watch out for our Action Alerts. Raise your voice with us to let decision makers know how much you care about keeping our lands healthy.

Together we are a powerful force. Together we are Friends of the Inyo!

Happy New Year!



Congratulations to 'El Señor Alcalde' (Mr. Mayor) José García, Bishop's First Ever Latino Mayor!

Congratulations to the City of Bishop's New Mayor for 2024, the Honorable José García, the first Latino mayor in our city's history.

In December, the Bishop City Council, which shares leadership on a yearly rotation basis, voted unanimously to have him as the head of our municipal government in the New Year.

A native of Mexico and a proud U.S. citizen, Mayor García has been a steadfast supporter of Friends of the Inyo's English/Spanish bilingual outreach efforts to ensure greater participation in outdoor activities and increased access to the Eastern Sierra's incomparable nature for the local Hispanic community. He has been present during the planning and execution of our Latino Conservation Week outreach and educational events since FOI began hosting them in 2022, and we hope for his continued partnership in these efforts in 2024 and beyond. 

¡Felicitaciones, Señor Alcalde! 

Congratulations, Mr. Mayor!


- Map courtesy of Southern California Edison

Control-Silver Peak Transmission Line Replacement Project: Attend Public Meetings in January; 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?

This is your chance to learn more about the project, help identify issues, suggest alternatives, or provide information for potential consideration in the EIS.

As part of the scoping process, the BLM will hold one virtual and two in-person public meetings on the following dates/times:

  • In-person Meetings: Tues., Jan. 16, from 2 to 4 p.m., and Weds., Jan. 17, from Noon to 2 p.m., at the BLM Bishop Field Office - USFS Inyo National Forest Office, 351 Pacu Lane, Suite 100, Bishop, CA 93514.
  • Virtual Meeting: Weds., Jan. 24, from Noon to 2 p.m. The public must register to participate in the virtual public meeting. Registrants will receive a link and phone number to join the meeting.

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.

Thank You!

Tickets are on sale for the Backcountry Film Festival
Jan. 26-27 - Proceeds help fund our popular SnowSchool for local 5th graders!

Friends of the Inyo is bringing back the Backcountry Film Festival in 2024! Join us in Bishop or Mammoth Lakes for a night full of winter-inspired stories curated by the Winter Wildlands Alliance. The 19th annual film festival lineup features short films about athletic pursuit in the mountains, artistic vision, friendship, and how the snowsports community is adapting to change.

Use the button below to buy tickets to attend the festival:

  • In Bishop, at the Bishop Twin Theater, 237 N. Main St., from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday, January 26, or
  • In Mammoth Lakes, at the U.S. Forest Service Welcome Center, 2510 Main St., from 5 to 9 p.m. Saturday, January 27.

The Important WHY of the Backcountry Film Festival

Tickets to the festival are $25, and all proceeds will go toward helping to fund SnowSchool, an outdoor education program offered to local elementary schools by FOI, in partnership with the Eastern Sierra Interpretive Association, and using the WWA SnowSchool curriculum. Inyo and Mono County fifth graders all bundled up in puffy jackets, mittens, and hats learn how to  strap on snowshoes, then have fun romping around in the snow as they dig snow shelters, study snow crystals, and learn about their watershed, including snow:water ratios. SnowSchool is truly a powdery, frolicky labor of love to help our local kids! Be a part of it by attending the Backcountry Film Festival. Besides the films, there will be local brews on tap and raffle tickets available for purchase. See you at the movies!

Save the Dates (April 19-21) for
FOI's Owens Lake Bird Festival!

Once again on Earth Day Weekend, April 19-21, Friends of the Inyo will host its annual Owens Lake Bird Festival in the "Little Town with Lots of Charm" that is Lone Pine, in Southern Inyo County.

Tickets for this popular event will go on sale next month. As is customary, "right of first purchase" will be made 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 inbox for our exclusive members-only e-mail announcement when ticket sales and sign-ups go live in February. 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!  

FREE Online Series

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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