The Conservancy’s mission is grounded in two pillars:
Making it Wild Again
We are working to repair environmental damage to the central Sierra Nevada backcountry accessed by the 213.7 mile John Muir Trail. An area of approximately 2.8 million acres, this is the heart of California’s snowpack, the headwaters of our water supply for both agriculture and communities.
✱ Focusing on the fragile network of aquatic assets linked across the region, our funds support the restoration of this “vascular system” of the mountains, restoring the river and stream banks, lush meadows, lake outlets and abundant wetlands from Yosemite Valley to Mt. Whitney;
✱ Repairing the decades-old stream crossings across the region, and building new log and large boulder pedestrian bridges, to ease passage of visitors while restoring the damaged river banks and creekside-habitat where people have scrambled to find crossings in every season’s high water months;
✱ Re-routing existing down-cut or “braided” trails that cross sensitive meadows and fens which have long gone too close to water, and rehabilitating the expanding “social trails” that spread out across an area disrupting the natural flow of watershed;
✱ Supporting the assessment and recovery efforts for endangered species uniquely native to the central Sierra Nevada, including the Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep, the Sierra Nevada red fox, the California wolverine and other amphibious indicator species, such as the mountain yellow-legged frog which are extremely sensitive to water quality and are challenged by spreading disease;
✱ Improving both public education and ranger patrols, in order to assure all visitors realize the critical importance of “leaving no trace” while enjoying this extraordinary wilderness.
Stewarding Environmental Leadership
We view our JMT Internship Program as an equal part of our philanthropy, providing students with environmental majors a unique and compelling experience that inspires the soul and builds strong environmental leadership.
✱ Collaborating with Stanford University, we recruit qualified undergraduates to work in the JMT backcountry for 8 weeks in the summer work season;
✱ Students work alongside the federal scientists and specialists in the fields of botany, biology, hydrology and archaeology to assess damaged areas and develop sound restoration strategies;
✱ While assisting with restoration work, students also monitor and report on seasonal progress, recording baseline conditions and taking before and after photographs to record and account for all work;
✱ Students bring with them individual academic projects for which they receive academic credit in their majors, using this unique opportunity to add 8 weeks of fieldwork into their studies.