WASHINGTON, D.C.— At a ceremony in the nation’s capital today, Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne recognized the Alabama Hills Stewardship Group in California as one of 21 recipients nationwide of the Department of the Interior’s Cooperative Conservation Award.
The 21 awards recognized the work of more than 700 groups and individuals who achieved excellence in conservation through collaboration and partnerships.
“These outstanding partnerships and cooperative efforts represent a fundamental way in which our Department provides stewardship for America with integrity and excellence,” Secretary Kempthorne said. “They embody a broad spectrum of conservation work from restoring wetlands, rangelands and mine lands to protecting wildlife, conserving water and fighting invasive species to teaching conservation values to the next generation.”
The award to the Alabama Hills Stewardship Group recognizes the partnership’s outstanding contributions to California’s Owens Valley, an area rich in natural resources and the home of Lone Pine, population 2,500. Visitors are drawn to the Owens Valley due to its use as a setting for hundreds of films and television productions since the 1920s, including classics like “How the West Was Won” and recent productions such as “Gladiator,” “Tremors,” and “Star Trek.” The Bureau of Land Management and the Stewardship Group have formed a successful partnership that encourages true citizen-centered stewardship of these lands, recognizing both economic and environmental values. Completed projects include the rehabilitation of an entrance station, construction of a Lone Pine Film History Museum, marketing of a “Don’t Crush the Brush” campaign, observance of a Community Spirit Day, development of the Alabama Hills Arch Trail, and publication of the Alabama Hills Movie Tour Guide.
“The Alabama Hills Stewardship Group, in association with the Bureau of Land Management and its local Resource Advisory Council, has forged a strong community-based partnership to address the area’s multiple priorities of landscape integrity, tourism economy, and recreation opportunities,” the award noted. “The Alabama Hills Stewardship Group is granted the Cooperative Conservation Award of the Department of the Interior for its exemplary and creative collaborative work towards achieving ecological and economic goals of the Alabama Hills Special Recreation Area and the Lone Pine community in California.”
The Department of the Interior’s Cooperative Conservation Award recognizes conservation achievements resulting from the cooperation and participation of individual landowners, citizen groups, private sector, nongovernmental organizations, and Federal, State, local, and/or tribal governments.
“This is a fitting start to a week of Earth Day activities,” the Secretary told the crowd at the main Interior auditorium. “If anyone were to ask me why America is the world leader in conservation of natural resources, I would simply point to the people in this auditorium. You are the spirit and you are the hands of cooperative conservation.”
Alabama Hills Stewardship Group (California)
Nominated by the Bureau of Land Management
Mike & Nancy Prather
Michael Strassman (posthumous)
Beverly and Jim Rogers Museum of Lone Pine Film History
Bureau of Land Management, Bishop Field Office
Bureau of Land Management, Central California Resource Advisory Committee
City of Los Angeles Department of Water and Power
County of Inyo, California
Healthy Communities of Southern Inyo County
Inyo County Film Commission
Lone Pine Band of the Owens Valley Paiute-Shoshone Indians
Kathy Jefferson Bancroft
Lone Pine Chamber of Commerce
McDonalds of Lone Pine, California
Kevin & Lis Mazzu
Whitney Portal Store