A New Approach
Sierra Watch is pioneering a new approach to conservation in the Sierra Nevada– playing a singular, strategic role unlike any other.
We work closely with a number of conservation organizations, homeowners associations, and land trusts in the Sierra Nevada. But we offer something new: an innovative brand of effective leadership.
Along with our allies and partners, we share similar motivations: we’re inspired by the high mountain ridgelines, deep pine forests, and crystal clear waters – that special serenity only the Sierra can deliver. And we share a fundamental goal: we want future generations to enjoy and appreciate the Sierra as we know and love it now.
But we offer something different. Land trusts, for example, can buy land and shepherd it into permanent conservation; Sierra Watch keeps the land from being carved up in the first place – and generates resources to fund preservation.
The distinction might not be obvious, but it’s important: land trusts generally avoid controversy and cannot engage in a given area until the landowner self-identifies as a “willing seller”. Sierra Watch, on the other hand, can stand up to inappropriate development proposals and advocate for an alternative vision – just as we’ve done in MartisValley and on Donner Summit.
“Sierra Watch makes a land trust’s work easier,” says Perry Norris of Truckee Donner Land Trust. “They’re standing up for smart planning and sensible land use, creating opportunities to permanently protect natural open space.”
It started more than fifteen years ago, when local residents and second homeowners realized that there was no existing organization that could proactively protect MartisValley. They formed Sierra Watch, and, since then, we’ve been refining a proven formula for success:
1. Identify and assess the threat.
We carefully engage to defend the last great places in the Sierra, after assessing what’s at stake and determining we can make a difference.
2. Craft the best strategy for lasting success.
Sierra Watch brings a big and varied toolbox; we can pursue litigation, mobilize grassroots support, raise money to purchase open space – whatever gives us the best shot at a conservation outcome.
3. Engage the best expertise.
Sierra Watch has always brought in the best available experts, whether in land use law, conservation planning, or biological resource science. Places like MartisValley, Donner Summit, and Squaw Valley deserve no less.
4. Offer values based alternative vision.
To achieve lasting success, we need to be for something. That’s why we always step back and concentrate our efforts on the unique values of each special place.
5. Follow through with integrity and discipline.
We’re committed to longstanding accomplishments, not short-lived victories. So we avoid distractions and remain focused on the permanent protection of our favorite Sierra places.
Everyday, we apply our unique approach to strategic leadership in defense of the places we love. Best of all: it’s working.