Sierra Nevada Alliance Conservation Conference

Innovation & Opportunity in the Face of Climate Change & Explosive Wildfire

Save the Date

September 15 - 16, 2022

Grizzly Creek Ranch
Portola, CA

Conference Tracks

The 2022 Sierra Nevada Alliance Conservation Conference is a venue to deepen environmental conversations for the Sierra and move the needle on important initiatives. Presenters include naturalists, artists, outdoor enthusiasts, conservationists, agencies, nonprofits, policy directors, communications professionals, environmental justice leaders, scientists and friends of the Sierra. We invite you to join us and explore the conference tracks below.

Forest Health

Climate change is creating long-term drought and explosive wildfires in the Sierra Nevada. Talks within this track will examine fire recovery, studying pyrodiversity with community science, forest resilience, and fire management.


Learn about on-the-ground watershed & landscapes conservation efforts that advance biodiversity, build climate resilience, and strengthen partnerships with tribes and communities in the Sierra Nevada.

Engaging Communities

We will weave discussions about Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion into all topics to truly increase representation and engagement. In this track, presentations demonstrate successful community participation and teach us how to be more inclusive and elevate the voices of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color.

Green Economy

Learn about new plans and strategies to diversify local economies and develop sustainable industries that create high-quality, broadly accessible jobs for all. Hear from a diversity of funders to best understand their priority investments and outlook for the next couple of years.

Climate Resiliency

Learn more about tools developed to elevate the Sierra Nevada’s resilience in the face of climate change.

Conference Details

About the Conference

Welcome to the Sierra Nevada Alliance’s Conference scheduled to take place at Sierra Nevada Journeys’ Grizzly Creek Ranch on September 15 – 16.

Our theme is Stronger Together: Innovation & Opportunity in the Face of Climate Change & Explosive Wildfire.

The Sierra Nevada Alliance has been hosting conservation conferences since 1994. We are pleased to provide this venue to deepen conservation conversations for the Sierra Nevada region to help move the needle on important initiatives. We look forward to seeing you in September. 

About the Sierra Nevada and the Alliance

The Sierra Nevada is a mountain range that lies primarily in the state of California with the Carson Range spur expanding into Nevada. The Sierra runs 400 miles north to south, and 50 to 80 miles east to west. The Sierra houses General Sherman, the world’s largest tree by volume; Lake Tahoe, the largest alpine lake in North America; and Mount Whitney, the highest point in the lower 48 United States.

The Sierra is rich in natural resources. It produces 60% of California’s water supply and supplies the state with 50% of its hydroelectric energy. Wildlife is abundant with 3500 plant, 572 animal, and 321 aquatic species. This is a big weight to bear, all while hosting 788,000 residents and 50 million annual visitors.

This region is at risk, and the Alliance is leading the way to build resiliency in the face of climate change and explosive wildfire.

Our Mission:  We are a hub for stewardship of the Sierra Nevada, which we achieve by empowering and collaborating with our partners.

Our Vision:  Every Sierra ecosystem and community is healthy, resilient, and collectively cared for through thriving partnerships, as a legacy for future generations.

Thank you for your support to join in and protect this precious area.

Registration Information

The Sierra Nevada Alliance is pleased to invite you to Portola, CA for our conservation conference – Stronger Together: Innovation & Opportunity in the Face of Climate Change & Explosive Wildfire. 

Conference registration includes materials, admission to all plenaries and sessions, meals, on-site activities, and more. 

Conference pass:
Thursday: Conference admission, breakfast, lunch, and dinner
Friday: Conference admission, breakfast, and lunch

Conference package:
Thursday: Conference admission, breakfast, lunch, dinner, and lodging at the Grizzly Creek Ranch
Friday: Conference admission, breakfast, and lunch

Member group discount is available to Alliance member groups renewed by February 28, 2022. Eligible groups are Sugarpine Foundation, Sierra Nevada Journeys, Sierra Club Tahoe Group, American River Conservancy, Butte County RCD, Sequoia Riverlands Trust, Alpine Watershed Group, and Truckee Donner Land Trust

We are dedicated to increasing representation, engaging and elevating the voices of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) and we are pleased to offer a limited number of scholarships to these groups. If you are interested in a scholarship and a member of the BIPOC community, please email with your request. Include your name, organization, why you would like to attend, and if you would like a conference pass or package.

IMPORTANT: Once payment is received, you will receive an email link to the Sierra Nevada Journeys waiver. This waiver is required for all conference attendees and will track your lodging choice, dietary restrictions, and other information. Sierra Nevada Journeys serves as a youth camp, and some waiver questions are intended for youth. All questions marked with an asterisk are required. We appreciate your patience and understanding.

Have you registered and still need to complete the waiver? 

Early Bird by 8/17:

  • Conference pass (five meals included): $175
  • Conference package – pass + meals + lodging: $250

General tickets 8/18 – 9/15:

  • Conference pass (five meals included): $200
  • Conference package – pass + lodging: $300

Member Group tickets:

  • Member group discount conference pass (only available to groups renewed by 2/28/2022) – $87.50
  • Member group discount conference package (only available to group renewed by 2/28/2022) – $125
  • Member Groups eligible for discount: Sugarpine Foundation, Sierra Nevada Journeys, Sierra Club Tahoe Group, American River Conservancy, Butte County RCD, Sequoia Riverlands Trust, Alpine Watershed Group, and Truckee Donner Land Trust

About the Ranch

Grizzly Creek Ranch is surrounded by magnificent vistas, valleys, and meadows located in the Plumas National Forest. From a high ropes challenge course to the forest and river ecosystems, Grizzly Creek Ranch is breathtaking and the ideal location for exploring nature.

The camp is fully ADA accessible and located in Portola, CA, just 45 minutes from Reno, NV and two hours from Sacramento, CA.

Staying at the Ranch: Grizzly Creek Ranch has four modern cabin villages, four yurts and two large stand-along dormitories. Each clean and comfortable cabin has its own restroom. All accomodations are shared bunk-style cabins or dormitories. Modern shower facilities are located in next-door activity centers. Guests of the Ranch must bring their own bedding (sleeping bag, pillow, twin sheets, blankets). When filling out the waiver, you will be asked who you are most comfortable rooming with and we will do our best to accommodate your request.

Take a virtual tour, and see for yourself!

Other Lodging Options:

Chalet View Lodge

Located in Blairsden-Graeagle, CA

10 minute drive to Conference

Nakoma Resort

Located in Portola, CA

12 minute drive to Conference

Lake Davis Resort

Located in Portola, CA

11 minute drive to Conference

River Pines Resort

Located in Graeagle, CA

15 minute drive to Conference

Conference Schedule

Thursday September 15
7:30 am - 9:00 am Breakfast
9:00 am - 10:00 am Opening Plenary
10:15 am - 11:15 am Engaging Communities: Outdoor Recreationists Shape Conservation in the Sierra Nevada

Forest Health: Resilient Forests
11:15 am - 12:00 pm Keynote Speaker
Announcement Coming Soon
12:00 pm - 1:30 pm Lunch
Member Group Annual Meeting & Presentations
Sierra Nevada Alliance Update
Sierra Nevada 30 x 30 Update
1:30 pm - 2:30 pm Conservation: What is possible with 30x30?
2:45 pm - 3:45 pm Climate Resiliency: Climate Assessment Tools

Engaging Communities Track
4:00 pm - 5:00 pm Green Economy: Funding Priorities for the Sierra Nevada Region
5:15 pm - 6:00 pm SNAP Member Graduation
SNAP Poster Session
5:15 pm - 7:00 pm Dinner
Friday September 16
7:30 am - 9:00 am Breakfast
8:00 am - 9:00 am Morning Activities
9:00 am - 9:30 am Opening Plenary
9:45 am - 10:45 am Engaging Communities: People Power: Inspiring Communities to Protect the Jewel of the Sierra

Conservation Track
11:00 am - 12:00 pm Forest Health: Fire Recovery

Green Economy: CERF Panel
12:15 pm - 1:30 pm Closing Plenary
Keynote Speaker: Obi Kaufmann

Session Descriptions

The conference will be composed of panels, presentations and talks that focus on a particular theme or topic (a track). Our conference is a venue to deepen environmental conversations for the Sierra and move the needle on important initiatives across five tracks: conservation, forest health, engaging communities, climate resiliency, and green economy. Each session is led by a session facilitator. For an overview of all sessions with a title, description, and presenter, view the table here

Call For Abstracts

2022 Call for Abstracts is CLOSED. If you have missed the deadline and would like to submit an abstract, please contact Jen Marshall at for more information.

Keynote Speakers

Obi Kaufmann

Artist, Author, Conservationist

Growing up in the East Bay as the son of an astrophysicist and a psychologist, Obi Kaufmann spent most of high school practicing calculus and breaking away on weekends to scramble around Mount Diablo and map its creeks, oak forests, and sage mazes. Into adulthood, he would regularly journey into the mountains, spending more summer nights without a roof than with one. This artist-adventurer has dedicated his life to studying California’s natural world and sharing his passion for its generous landscapes through the stroke of paintbrush and pen. He is the author of the genre-breaking, San Francisco Chronicle #1 best-selling book, The California Field Atlas (2017), The State of Water: Understanding California’s Most Precious Natural Resource (2019), and The Forests of California (2020), all published by Heyday. When he is not backpacking, you can find the painter-poet at home in the East Bay, posting trail paintings at his handle @coyotethunder on Instagram. His website is

Top Secret Speaker

Announcement coming soon

Conference Speakers

Shelby Cook

Project Manager – Tahoe Prosperity Center

Shelby Cook was born and raised in Reno, Nevada and moved back to the area after receiving a B.S. in Community Development from Portland State University. She is the Project Manager for the Tahoe Prosperity Center, focusing on community and economic indicators data, broadband expansion, and fundraising. She has a background in community-based research, nonprofit work, grant writing, and civic engagement and uses these passions to contribute to her work at the Tahoe Prosperity Center.

Jeff Cowen

Board Member – Clean Up The Lake

Jeff currently serves as Public Information Officer for the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA), where he has worked on the communications team from 2006 to 2014 and to which he returned in 2020. As a Tahoe sportfishing captain of eight years, Jeff marveled at the crystal‐clear waters and took in a daily panorama of Lake Tahoe’s breathtaking environs. When the chance to work with Colin West and the team at Clean up the Lake emerged, Jeff saw a natural confluence of his skills and knowledge with a mission that was close to his heart. He came onboard with CUTL as an assistant to the fundraising team and has since been transitioned to the non profit’s board of directors. Jeff understands complex policy, large‐ and small‐scale budgets, public and private finance, and collaborative frameworks; and has proven experience in project management, organizational leadership, conflict resolution, public speaking, and strategic communications.

Dr. Darla DeRuiter

Executive Director – Friends of Plumas Wilderness

Darla DeRuiter is an expeditionologist of high ranges, rugged coasts and free rivers. She is also the Executive Director of Friends of Plumas Wilderness. Upon reflection, Darla realizes that a nearly quarter-century teaching career, three score years with her perfect love, and a lifetime in the West convince her that she’s satisfied with the life she’s livin’. These days, her energies fit in a five-fingered glove: adventure, creativity, service, health, and human connection.

Shelton Douthit

Executive Director – Feather River Land Trust

Shelton serving as Executive Director, Leads FRLT as it fulfills it’s land saving mission. Shelton works with the Board of Directors, staff and partners to move projects forward while ensuring the health of the organization and it’s key parts, the staff. Due to his 25 plus years managing fee-title and conservation easement transactions, Shelton also leads the Land Protection Program, working with landowners to permanently protect conservation values critical to the region and the nation. Shelton also has 27 years of experience with fire management, working as both a paid and volunteer fire fighter and fire officer with the US Forest Service, National Park Service, CALFIRE and Riverside County.

Jose Esparza

Community Science Coordinator – California Native Plant Society

Born in Guadalajara, Jalisco and raised in the Central Coast of California, Jose graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles with a BA in Geography/Environmental Studies in 2019. Has had an interest in conservation work with a strong intersection in science, community outreach, and environmental justice. Jose is the current Community Science Coordinator at CNPS, leading the CA Fire Followers Project. As a way to connect with his environment, he loves to spend time outdoors, hiking, playing soccer and exploring creative outlets through drawing.

Katie Goodwin

Policy Analyst &  California Regional Director – Access Fund

Katie is part of the Access Fund’s national policy and advocacy program and serves as California Regional Director. Katie works with public land managers to address access issues and develop and implement management plans as it relates to climbing. She also supports the stewardship program and local climbing communities by providing assessment tools to protect and conserve the climbing environment.

Katie Hawkins

California Program Manager – Outdoor Alliance California

Katie Hawkins is the California Program Manager for Outdoor Alliance, where she spearheads the advocacy and policy efforts from the heart of the Sierra Nevada. With over 20 years of outdoor industry experience, Hawkins has led international sales teams and growth initiatives for key outdoor brands such as Marmot, Black Diamond Equipment, and Gregory Mountain Products.

In 2020, Katie was appointed by California Governor Newsom to the Outdoor Recreation Commission on Boating and Waterways, where she advocates to protect, promote, and enhance outdoor recreation opportunities in the state.

She lives in Truckee, California with her husband, adventurous son, and mischievous dog.

Dr. Logan Robertson Huecker

Executive Director, Sequoia Riverlands Trust

Dr. Logan Robertson Huecker joined SRT in 2020 and was appointed Executive Director in October, 2021. Logan has worked for more than two decades in the nonprofit and education sectors in California, Guatemala, and Honduras. Her work at SRT leverages her professional experience and expands upon her deep commitment to the natural and agricultural legacy of the Sierra foothills and Central Valley. She has experience leading non-profit organizations and publicly funded programs; managing staff teams, spearheading collaborative initiatives, and implementing federal, state and local policies.

Adam Livingston

Director of Planning and Policy, Sequoia Riverlands Trust

Adam Livingston is Director of Planning and Policy at SRT and Coordinator of the Southern Sierra Partnership. Widely recognized as a leading voice on land use and conservation in the Sierra Nevada and San Joaquin Valley, Adam has built cross-sector coalitions to support compact growth in city- and county-level general plan updates, regional transportation plans and other contexts. He has authored or co-authored multiple reports on land use and transportation policy, including Sustainable Communities Strategies and Conservation: Results from the First Round and Policy Recommendations for Future Rounds. Adam also coordinated SRT’s successful applications for LTA accreditation and accreditation renewal.

Theresa L. Lorejo-Simsiman

California Stewardship Director – American Whitewater

Theresa brings over a decade of river advocacy experience to the position of California Stewardship Director. Since she first started whitewater kayaking in 1999 she has made it a point to get involved at the community level to advocate for river sheds and lands in in her back-yard. She cut her teeth in the world of hydropower by actively informing and encouraging advocacy from local paddling groups for the relicensing of the FERC Upper American River Project (UARP) owned and operated by the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD).

Having gained practical knowledge working with utilities, federal, state & local agencies as well as local partner organizations, Theresa was eventually brought on to the American Whitewater staff as the California Stewardship Assistant in 2013. In this position she protected recreational flows on the Mokelumne River during the drought, advocated for State Wild and Scenic River status for the Mokelumne, helped remove an illegal fence blocking access to the Cosumnes River, and helped implement the first license required recreational flow releases on the South Fork American River below Slab Creek Dam and on South Silver Creek below Ice House

Steve Messer

President – Concerned Off Road Bicyclists Association & Board Member – California Mountain Biking Coalition

Steve has been riding bicycles in the mountains around Los Angeles for 35 years. After more than 20 years riding trails, he saw trail conditions gradually deteriorating through lack of maintenance, and diminishing agency budgets. He began doing volunteer work with CORBA’s trail crew in the early 2000s, and before long was leading crews himself. He worked on trail master plans and other planning efforts as a volunteer committee member with CORBA in the mid 2000s. He joined the CORBA board in 2009 and became board president in 2014. Steve has led trail reconstruction efforts in the wake of the Station Fire, Sand Fire and Woolsey Fire. He’s leveraged partnerships with other user groups, bike industry, nonprofits and land managers to build new trails, create a bike skills park, and continue ongoing trail maintenance efforts. He served on the CAMTB steering committee during its development, and now serves on the board of this new regional organization, as well as two other nonprofits and a Collaborative advisory group for the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument.

Malcolm North, Ph.D.

Research Ecologist – Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station

David Page

Advocacy Director – Winter Wildlands Alliance

As Advocacy Director for Winter Wildlands Alliance, David has worked closely with environmental partners, grassroots winter recreation groups and forest service staff on numerous land management and winter travel plans in California and beyond, as well as on other issues that impact backcountry skiers and human powered winter adventurers. He also serves as Policy Director for Outdoor Alliance California (OACA), working with climbers, paddlers, skiers, mountain bikers and others to improve land protections, climate resilience, and equitable access to quality recreation on public lands in California.

David is also a national award-winning journalist and a finalist for a 2015 National Magazine Award. He has written for the Los Angeles Times Magazine, Men’s Journal, Adventure Journal, The New York Times, Esquire, Outside, Powder, Ski and many other publications. He lives in Mammoth Lakes and spends as much time as he can on the Inyo National Forest.

Wayne Spencer, Ph.D.

Chief Scientist – Conservation Biology Institute

Wayne Spencer is a wildlife conservation biologist specializing in the practical application of science to biological conservation in western North America. Dr. Spencer guides various science-based efforts to conserve ecological connectivity, sustain resilient ecosystems, and recover endangered species. He currently leads teams working to recover the endangered Stephens’ kangaroo rat in southern California and the endangered Pacific fisher population in the southern Sierra Nevada. He also leads a multidisciplinary science team that is working to produce science-based decision-support tools for resilient forest habitat management in the Sierra Nevada.

Sierra Nevada Alliance and Sierra Nevada Journeys (SNJ) care about your well-being and take the health and safety of our conference attendees and employees very seriously. With the spread of the Corona Virus or “COVID-19”, we are committed to mitigating the spread in our community. One of the reasons the Alliance chose SNJ’s Grizzly Creek Ranch is because of all of the wonderful outdoor spaces made available to us!

To that end, we have developed a COVID-19 Exposure Control and Response Plan to ensure all staff, participants and external community organizations using our facility follow effective health and safety practices while attending Sierra Nevada Journeys, Grizzly Creek Ranch. The Executive Director and other leadership staff have assumed the responsibility to ensure this COVID-19 Exposure Control and Response Plan is implemented, reviewed, and updated, as new information becomes available. Members of our Leadership Team continue to monitor relevant local Health Department and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) guidance.


  • Vaccination:  All Sierra Nevada Journeys staff are vaccinated for COVID-19 as a condition of employment. We recommend, but do not require, that adult and youth participants receive COVIR-19 vaccinations before attending the conference.
  • Testing:  All (vaccinated or unvaccinated): Conference attendees must either:

1) Upon arrival provide proof of a negative test (Rapid or PCR) taken no more than 3 days (72 hours) before arriving at camp.


2) If you cannot test before arriving to the conference, SNJ has free on-site testing available upon arrival.

  1. Everyone getting tested on-site must register before arriving to camp, click this Registration Link  to register.
    1. Please print and  bring a signed copy of this (Registration Link) form with you to camp
  2. A Rapid Antigen Test will be performed once arriving to the site.
  3. Test Results:
    1. Rapid test results will be available within 15 minutes of testing.
    2. Negative test results will be admitted to the conference
    3. Positive test results will be sent home and encouraged to seek medical assistance
  • Masks:  Participants and SNJ Staff will not be required to wear a mask unless it is requested by a partner
  • Enhanced Sanitation and Hygiene: Our team looks forward to hosting you for a safe and fun experience.  We will regularly work to attend to enhanced hygiene throughout the property.

If you have any other questions, please feel free to give Adam Yarnes, Camp Executive Director a call at (775) 560-1813.

For questions or assistance, please contact Jennifer Marshall at

Event Sponsors

Thank you to our generous sponsors dedicated to protecting and preserving the Sierra Nevada now and for future generations. To become a sponsor, contact

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