A local volunteer is attempting to fill a gap that has been left by federal budget cuts and limited recreational opportunities for visitors to the Eastern Sierra.
David Woodruff, deputy director of the Eastern Sierra Land Trust, will be kicking off a weekly program for visitors that will tell the story of the Owens Valley, from its humble beginnings as a frontier community, to its agricultural boom to its present state as a vacation destination for people from all over the world.
“Since there have been so many Forest Service cutbacks and they have almost no funding for interpretive programs, we are going to begin offering weekly Owens Valley history based evening programs for both the Eastern Sierra visitors and residents alike,” Woodruff said.
Woodruff’s first lecture in an ongoing series will be held at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the Inyo Council for the Arts on South Main Street in Bishop. The first three programs will be the same slideshow lecture on the history of the Owens Valley, but as the series progresses, Woodruff said the subject manner, as well as locations, will expand.
“We want to try out different locations in town, and eventually we may move it up to the campgrounds,” Woodruff said.
Woodruff is a history major who has been working with both the Eastern California Museum in Independence and Laws Railroad Museum in Bishop to gather historical photographs and information for the slide show, titled “Life Upon the Land.”
To ensure news of the new program reaches his target audience, visitors to the Eastern Sierra, Woodruff said the ESLT has been working with local hotel and motel owners, hanging flyers and notifying local media of the program.
“We’re doing this to try to give visitors something to do in the evenings when they’re here, but, of course, locals are more than welcome to come,” Woodruff said. “This is kind of a new leap for us because we’re targeting visitors, but it seemed to be really well received by the hotel owners.”
The ESLT is a non-profit organization that works with private landowners to preserve vital lands in the Eastern Sierra region for their scenic, agricultural, natural, recreational, historical and watershed values.
For more information about the programs or the ESLT, call (760) 873-4554 or visit www.eslt.org .