"Sierra Now" is the title for an Aug. 7-9 conference that will bring an impressive gathering of environmentalists, elected officials and business leaders to the Sacramento Convention Center.
The conference subtitle might be "Sierra SOS." Its aim is to design a rescue-preservation plan for the Sierra Nevada, America's longest unbroken mountain range that encompasses three national parks, nine national forests and 18 counties in two states. It is home to almost a million people.
But the majestic bioregion is suffering the ravages of too many tourists, too much timber harvesting, overgrazing, massive water divisions and urban development.
The Sierra Nevada poses the most complex U.S. environmental problem, says Richard Luskin, chairman of Sierra Now: "It's a national treasure, and we are long overdue for a plan to restore and preserve its beauty."
David Brower, founder of Friends of the Earth, is scheduled to open the conference, which will include panel discussions on such topics as forestry, water, grazing, mining and biodiversity. Workshops will explore actions ranging from community organizing to reading environmental impact statements.
"We think we can play a significant role in determining the future of the Sierra Nevada," Luskin says.
The conference is open to the public. Admission for the three days is $70; $30 for low-income participants. Information: (800) 748-6647.