Greg Archbald has devoted his life’s work to conservation.
On Saturday, Bear Yuba Land Trust will recognize Archbald with the John Skinner Sierra Outdoors Recreation Award for volunteerism.
As one of the first environmental attorneys in California, Archbald was an environmental activist during a time when the San Francisco Bay, the Marin coastline and Mineral King were being saved from development. He knows when people are engaged with the land, they are more likely to fight for it.
In 1972, he co-founded The Trust for Public Land with Huey Johnson. His ideas about citizen volunteerism helped to foster a new generation of conservationists. The natural resource stewardship programs he helped start at Golden Gate National Parks remain strong to this day.
Now living in Nevada City, Archbald continues to put his values into action. Since 2009, Archbald has volunteered countless hours for Bear Yuba Land Trust photographing, GPS mapping, walking, collecting information and writing about local trails for Bear Yuba Land Trust’s online trails portal, the first of its kind in the region.
“He wants to see it through, so he sticks with it,” said Bill Haire, Land Trust trails coordinator, adding the work Archbald does is complicated and time-consuming.
“There’s just a whole lot that goes into mapping of trails. You have to think about how you describe a trail without misleading people. He’s very thorough,” Haire said.
Lands Conservation Coordinator Chris Gee called Archbald’s work “super-detailed” and his commitment to the task “relentless.”
“A lot of what he does definitely makes our job easier,” Gee said.
Locally, Archbald connects with nature in his own garden, the South Fork of the Yuba River and Grouse Ridge.
Some of his favorite places to visit are the east side of the Sierra Nevada range, the Point Lobos State Reserve near Carmel, the gorge of the Voidomatis river in northern Greece, the countryside of Crete in the spring, deserts of Namibia and the vast game reserves of the Okavango Delta in Botswana.
“I do believe that humans have a moral, or ethical, responsibility for all creation. That includes nature as well as themselves, their families, friends and communities,” Archbald said.
Laura Brown is a local freelance writer.