Annual Review 2007

Tejon Ranch by Kent Schwitkis

2007 found the Sierra Club Angeles Chapter's members involved in many important local community issues, once again proving that perseverance, persistence, and passion are our mainstays of success. Our members consistently excel at protecting and preserving, enjoying and exploring our planet. Inside, you can share in some of those adventures.

Angeles Chapter Sierra Club Annual Review 2007
©2007 Kent Schwitkis


The Tejon-Tehachapi Park Task Force has been working to promote the protection of 246,000 acres of Tjon Ranch as a park or preserve. The task force collected over 1,500 petitions to promote protection of vast areas of the Ranch as a park. Renowned conservationist Dr. Jane Goodall joined our list of supporters when she signed our petition. Outreach included a conservation car camp near Tejon Ranch to educate participants about the importance of protecting California condor habitat and preservation of wildlife corridors that provide important linkages for many species.

Protecting the urban wilderness of Griffith Park has been important to Angeles Chapter members who enjoy the park as an urban oasis to escape the city. The Griffith Park Planning Task Force became involved in recovery initiatives after a series of wildfires burned acres throughout the park. In addition, members successfully advocated for auto-free evenings at the park’s annual Lights Festival. Families were able to enjoy the lights on foot and on bicycle, without contributing to traffic congestion or air pollution.

The First People's Earth Day Celebration highlighted the importance of protecting the sacred Native American Panhe Village and ceremonial site from irreparable damage from the proposed Foothill South Toll Road extension. Native American singers, musicians, dancers and storytellers participated in the event sponsored by the Native American Sacred Sites Task Force.

Native American Dancer ©2007 Robin Streichler. Former Assembly member Cindy Montanez (left) receives environmental award from Mike Sappingfield and Susana Reyes.
Tejon Ranch ©2007 Kent Schwitkis.


Los Angeles and Orange County Political Committees were busy planning for the key races and numerous special elections in 2007. Due to the dedication of our committee members, several candidate endorsements were approved for 2008 primary elections. These early endorsements enabled the Angeles Chapter to provide ongoing support to strong environmental candidates.

Susana Reyes, chair of the LA. County Political Committee, joined the National Sierra Club Political Committee where she spearheaded the development and implementation of an online Level 1 Political Endorsement Online training course.

The first annual Political Action Committee (PAC) event "May We Have a Moment..." honored former Assemblymembers Fran Pavley, Cindy Montanez and Paul Koretz, State Senator Joe Dunn, and Board of Equalization Chair Judy Chu. These elected officials received Political Leadership Awards for their legislative efforts to protect the environment.


Hundreds of movie-goers enjoyed the Angeles Chapter's first ever weekend-long Environmental Film Festival. Audiences were treated to free viewings of environmental-themed movies, including the Academy Award-winning "An Inconvenient Truth" and acclaimed documentary "Who Killed the Electric Car." Panel discussions included film makers, local activists, and environmentalist Ed Begley Jr.

Our outreach extended to exciting venues like the Los Angeles and AFI Film Festivals, and included partnerships with Amoeba Records, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Walt Disney Studios, among others!


The Angeles Chapter has more than 50 entities that sponsored outings in 2007. With more than 850 trained leaders, the Angeles Chapter hosted 6,000 outings. Outings range from fitness hikes on the beach, daylong backpacks, and multi-day camping trips in remote locations. Outdoor activities, such as sailing and river touring, bicycling, and hikes that cater to dog owners provide environmental education and support the Chapters conservation and political campaigns.

Eighty members enjoyed the cultural and natural riches of Costa Rica. In addition to raising funds for the Chapter’s conservation efforts and environmental outreach, these trips benefit Costa Rican communities by donating proceeds to rural schools, local environmental groups, and animal rescue organizations.

The Orange County Sierra Singles reinvigorated the Little Hikers outings, tailored to bring families to natural areas with child-friendly hikes. Little Hikers introduces youngsters to the beauty of the wilderness, encourages their enjoyment of nature and cultivates their concern about the environment.

Little Hikers enjoying nature ©2007 Donna Specht. Rally at Coastal Commission hearing ©2007 Chay Peterson. Hikers explore the Arroyo Seco ©2007 Bob Cates

2008 is already an exciting year!

Due to the activism of Angeles Chapter members:

  • The California Coastal Commission made the historic decision to deny approval of the proposed 214 Toll Road extension.
  • After a decade of valiant efforts, conservationists won the day when developers donated 175 acres of land in the Verdugo Hills.
  • Los Angeles City Council denied approvals for the large Los Loma development.

Looking Ahead

The Green Building Committee will continue its efforts to promote green building standards that incorporate energy and water efficiency, low impact design, reduced runoff and drought-tolerant landscaping.

The Water Committee will address issues of water supply, quality, pollution, and conservation, as well as monitor related legislation in 2008.

With 2007’s fast-paced political activities, 2008 is projected to be twice as busy. Angeles Chapter Political Committee will work to endorse environmental champions and support their election in important political races. Members will be actively involved in the presidential election and local races.

Adventurous travelers may enjoy international trips to China, Nicaragua, Denali and Japan, or multi-day trips within the United States, including adventures to the Black Hills, Yellowstone National Park or a Hawaiian cruise – just to name a few.

Verdugo Hills ©2007 Sierra Club archive.
White-faced monkey in Costa Rica ©2007 Mike Sappingfield.

[Tejon Ranch, header photo by Kent Schwitkis, 2007]