About the Alabama Hills Stewardship Group
The Alabama Hills Stewardship Group was established to promote the long term vision, conservation, use, enhancement, and enjoyment of the Alabama Hills’ Special Recreation Management Area (SRMA) public land resources. The Group, in association with the BLM and its local Resource Advisory Council (http://www.blm.gov/ca/st/en/info/rac/ccrac.html), has forged a strong, community-based partnership to maintain the area’s landscape integrity and vital tourism economy.
The Stewardship Group has worked collaboratively to create a vision and action plan to address priority management issues in the SRMA.The Group, chartered by the BLM Central California Resources Advisory Committee (CenCal RAC), has accomplished a lot since its inception in November 2006.Completed projects include an entrance station rehabilitation; creation/marketing of the “Don’t Crush the Brush” campaign for locals, the film industry, and visitors (http://www.lonepinechamber.org/recreation/ohv.html ); implementation of a Community Spirit Day to conduct conservation activities associated with National Public Lands Day; development of the Alabama Hills Arch Trail; publication of the Alabama Hills Movie Tour Guide; position development and recruitment ofa volunteer stewardship coordinator; providing input to area management policies and programs; and prioritization of conservation projects.
This Group has successfully galvanized a community, historically distrustful of government, to identify and protect the environmental and economic values of the Alabama Hills public lands adjacent to Lone Pine, California Breaking through perception barriers, the BLM and the group have formed a successful partnership that encourages true citizen-centered stewardship of these lands, requiring much less government oversight and regulatory action.The Stewardship Groups’ efforts have substantially reduced BLM’s maintenance and management costs, created less reliance on government, and improved personal accountability of interested individuals, user groups, and communities.
Organizations supporting the Stewardship Group:
- The Lone Pine Film History Museum, constructed in 2006, is the bulwark ofleadership and direction for the long term stewardship of the Alabama Hills, most notably championing the “Don’t Crush the Brush” campaign,targeted at the film industry and visitors to reduce vegetation impacts inthe Hills. http://www.lonepinefilmhistorymuseum.org/museum.htm
- The Lone Pine Chamber of Commerce provided the leadership for the development and the publication of the Alabama Hills Movie Tour Guide and was a primary host for the 2006 CenCal RAC meeting in Lone Pine. The Chamber is also providing leadership for the development of a local Heritage Trail Plan, the recent recipient of a National park Service Rivers and Trails Conservation Planning Grant of $40,000. The proposed trail will include segments in the Alabama Hills. Lone Pine Chamber Home Page
- The Lone Pine Paiute Tribe provides tribal facilities for the Group’s meetings as well as contributes the local Native American perspective to stewardship efforts in the Alabama Hills.
- The Healthy Communities of Southern Inyo County provides local youth the opportunity to contribute community service to the public lands. They were the primary labor force in the Alabama Hills Arch Trail Construction project.
- The local McDonalds restaurant provides breakfast meals and promotional meal items to volunteers for the various conservation projects in the Alabama Hills. The franchise owner is also an active participant and leader at the Group meetings.
- The Elevation Mountaineering Store owners provide logistical support for conservation projects as well as rock climbing management perspectives for the Group.
- The City of Los Angeles, Dept of Water and Power provides support for habitat conservation projects to improve landscape integrity in the Alabama Hills.
- Inyo County has provided stewardship strategy input from two county supervisors and $8,500 to publish the Alabama Hills Movie Tour Guide. Web link for Tour Guide: http://www.blm.gov/style/medialib/blm/ca/pdf/pdfs/bishop_pdfs.Par.43504.File.dat/movie_road_tour_brochure_opt.pdf
- Various local citizens and regional activists help ensure appropriate representation of the diversity of multiple users interested in the Alabama Hills and provide logistical support forconservation projects and incorporate a “Neighborhood Watch” mentality for any vandalism or inappropriate uses occurring in the Alabama Hills.
The community of Lone Pine, population 1,500, is located in California’s Owens Valley, an area rich in natural resources. Public lands surround the community and a wide variety of recreational opportunities for residents and visitors occur mainly in the Alabama Hills Special Recreation Management Area (SRMA). The Alabama Hills have been used as a setting for hundreds of films and television productions since the 1920s, including classics like Gunga Din, How the West Was Won, and recent productions such as Gladiator, Tremors, Maverick, Star Trek, Iron Man, and Transformers. Recreation opportunities include movie site interpretation, mountain biking, vehicle touring, photography, mountain climbing, horseback riding, and other activities. The Alabama Hills have become a major tourist attraction and economic asset for the community.
Over the last two decades, the Lone Pine community has sponsored an annual Lone Pine Film Festival (http://lonepinefilmfestival.org/index.asp), a celebration commemorating the many westerns, dramas, science-fiction, and other movie genres that were produced in the Alabama Hills. This has increased the area’s popularity, which receives over 100,000 visitors per year. The area’s proximity to
Lone Pine has stepped forward to work with BLM to create a model, community-based, stewardship management framework to maintain the unique qualities the Hills provide. Lone Pine citizens recognized that they are ultimately the continuous link of care and protection that the Alabama Hills need to sustain the environmental attributes that provide quality of life and economic benefits to the community. Working with the BLM Bishop Field Office, the Lone Pine community hosted the BLM Central California RAC meeting in Lone Pine in November 2006, to showcase the Alabama Hills and explore building upon community efforts to share stewardship of this spectacular area. In response, the RAC created an Alabama Hills Stewardship Subcommittee to address long term needs for the area.Since then, about 20 citizens, representing a broad diversity of interests have participated in monthly meetings with RAC members and the BLM, using the BLM Bishop Resource Management Plan to develop a long term vision and guide the group’s general direction for the Hills’ management.
Paul McFarland - CenCal RAC Alabama Hills Subcommittee Member, (760) 709-1093
Mary Gorden - CenCal RAC Alabama Hills Subcommittee Member, (559) 597-2373
Lone Pine Film History Museum - Chris Langley, Executive Director, (760) 876-9909.
Lone Pine Chamber of Commerce - Kathleen New, Director, (760) 876-4444.
McDonalds Corporation - Kevin Mazzu , Franchise Owner, (760) 876-4355.
BLM Bishop Field Office - Bill Dunkelberger, Field Manager, (760) 872-5011; Jim Jennings, Recreation Planner, (760) 872-5027.