January 27, 2011


UPDATE, May 2015: A lawsuit, brought against our water provider by a now-bankrupt Los Angeles developer called PacificUS, was dropped (with prejudice). A new development company now owns the meadow which remains undeveloped. The Sierra Foothill Conservancy is no longer involved in saving the meadow; the funds raised for meadow protection by them are now held by a local community services district. The Yosemite Alpine Community Services District is currently bolstering its water system against any future threats with the development of new well sites and water storage. Please see my blog entry for December 1, 2014.

In November, 2009 I wrote in this journal about a developer threatening the Fish Camp Meadow. Things have changed. We now have a chance to preserve the Fish Camp Meadow on Big Creek, protecting not only our community drinking water, but also the water of Big Creek which flows into Wawona and Yosemite National Park. Read on, or skip ahead to The Nitty Gritty Of It All.

Here, have a look:

Photographs courtesy Pamela Salisbury, Big Creek Inn

John Muir himself saw fit to write about our meadow (or one very nearby to it) in 1875. You may read the full text here (it is VERY pleasant reading!), or at least take in these quoted excerpts:

"Every flower, every needle is exhaling odor. Amid such innumerable fragrance fountains, how wonderful that Nature keeps so admirable a balance! The air is never gross, but subtle essences combine to give health and pleasure. So also the streams of our meadows are mixed with the juices of a thousand flowers—aye, and minerals too, for water is a universal solvent. . . . Yet how rich and pure and exhilarating a drink for gods!"

"Morning comes again, hallowed with all the deeds of night. Here it is [five] thousand feet above the sea, yet in all this tranquil scene we feel no remoteness, no rest from care and chafing duties because here they have no existence. Every sense is satisfied. For us there is no past, no future. We live in the present and are full. No room for hungry hopes, none for regrets, none for exultation, none for fear. . ."

"A cow comes through the woods exploring the meadow, and I know by her tracks she has been here before. Will all this garden be made into beef and mutton pastures, and be delved by the hog-herd and ditcher's spade? I often wonder what man will do with the mountains – that is, with their utilizable, destructible garments. Will he cut down all the trees to make ships and houses? If so, what will be the final and far upshot? Will human destructions like those of Nature – fire and flood and avalanche work out a higher good, a finer beauty? Will a better civilization come in accord with obvious nature, and all this wild beauty be set to human poetry and song? Another universal outpouring of lava, or the coming of a glacial period, could scarce wipe out the flowers and shrubs more effectually than do the sheep. And what then is coming? What is the human part of the mountains' destiny?"

All of the water you see in these pictures -- the water of Big Creek -- flows into Wawona and Yosemite. While campaigning for the creation of Yosemite National Park, Muir wrote:

"For the branching cañons and valleys of the basins of the streams that pour into Yosemite are as closely related to it as are the fingers to the palm of the hand—as the branches, foliage, and flowers of a tree to the trunk. Therefore, very naturally, all the fountain region above Yosemite, with its peaks, cañons, snow fields, glaciers, forests, and streams, should be included in the park to make it an harmonious unit instead of a fragment..."  (read the full text of Muir's article here).

Though not included within the artificial boundary of Yosemite National Park, what Muir observed surely establishes Fish Camp Meadow on Big Creek as interconnected with Yosemite's environs -- worthy of protection by any who strive to protect Yosemite National Park.

I share John Muir's concern regarding "the human part of the mountains' destiny," and strongly believe that a development in the middle of Fish Camp Meadow will decidedly not bring about a "higher beauty." I'll bet you agree, too.

If you do agree, here's what I and my friends are doing about it -- please download the pdf/flyer version of the below and forward to any who might want to help us -- time is of the essence!

Help Us Protect Our Water & Yosemite’s Watershed!

Hi, All – it’s Tom Bopp with the latest Fish Camp news. I’m involved in an effort to acquire a threatened Sierra meadow here (behind the Post Office), in order to protect it and the pure water of Big Creek flowing through it down to Wawona and Yosemite National Park.  We also hope to preserve the purity of our community’s water supply – untreated pristine mountain water from our wells in the meadow. 

As you’ll read in the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS)  flyer (and please do read all of it), the meadow became potentially available for purchase when the owner/developer defaulted on their bank loan. It had been anticipated that the bank might put the meadow up for sale at auction by mid February. Because of this, our original goal was to raise sufficient funds by February 15, and your generous donations to date may have brought about an important consequence. It seems that because of your demonstration of broad and tangible (monetary) support, the bank has hesitated to put up the meadow for sale in a foreclosure auction, and more importantly has not shown signs of hurrying to renegotiate a new loan with the developer. 

In other words, the acreage is still available, and may remain so if we continue to broaden our base of support. We are currently pursuing a multitude of avenues, any of which could come together in achieving our goal. Once again, as you’ll read in the FAQS , we can’t reveal our strategies without undermining ourselves – just know that, with your backing and the current positive circumstances, we have sufficient motivation to continue our efforts.

Diane and I kicked in $1,000 – not small potatoes for a part-time art teacher and a musician on a shoestring, but we want you to know that this is very important to us. Please help us protect the lovely Fish Camp Meadow on Big Creek by giving as much as you can today – even small amounts will demonstrate that there are many out there like us who know that developments don’t have to destroy Yosemite’s mountain meadows.

 To make a Tax Deductible Donation to acquire the Fish Camp Meadow on Big Creek by Yosemite National Park, send your check to:  

Sierra Foothill Conservancy

P.O. Box 529, Prather, CA 93651

IMPORTANT :  In the check’s subject line, write Fish Camp Meadow.

 OR DONATE BY CREDIT CARD ONLINE AT:  http://www.sierrafoothill.org/membership_application.htm  

Scroll down to the  “Donate Now through Network for Good” secure link.

You needn’t join this deserving organization to help.

IMPORTANT when donating online to complete optional DESIGNATION – write in Fish Camp Meadow.

Thank You for your Support!

The Sierra Foothill Conservancy is a non-profit public benefit corporation under the Internal Revenue Service Code Section 501(c)(3) and California Revenue and Taxation Code Section 23701d. Contributions to a non-profit classified as 501(c)(3) by the Internal Revenue Service are deductible for federal income tax purposes.  

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This is the view from the guest rooms at Big Creek Inn, Fish Camp, CA.
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