Son captures conservationist dad’s life in film |

Son captures conservationist dad’s life in film

Alden Olmsted always thought he’d make a movie about his conservationist father, John Olmsted, and his John Muir-like ramblings across the California landscape.

But a few weeks ago, when his 72-year-old father was told his cancer had spread to his liver, Alden Olmsted had to move some day up the schedule to now.

“It’s challenging to coalesce all he’s done,” the younger Olmsted said. “Millions of people have walked on trails he’s helped protect and very few know about him.”

John Olmsted’s influence can be found across the state from Jug Handle State Preserve on the coast to Independence Trail along the Yuba River.

But for Alden Olmsted, the movie isn’t just about conservation.

“The goal is to make a great film, not just about John Olmsted, but it uses the John Olmsted I know to help anyone with a father or mother with extreme ambition that takes them away,” Alden Olmsted said. “It’s a story about the cost of conservation, and for me it cost me my father. But it ends on a positive note as far as how I view my dad, it ends with reconciliation.”

Alden Olmsted is working as a filmmaker in Hollywood, where he has created one film – Dill, California – and written five other screen plays, he said.

Working with decades of footage from his father’s travels, and filming interviews with people who have known John Olmsted over the years, the younger Olmsted said his goal is to have the film ready for the Nevada City Film Festival next year – and hopefully before his father passes away.

Go to to see a trailer for the film in progress.

The benefit for local naturalist and conservationist John Olmsted has been rescheduled from Saturday night.

Originally planned for Oct. 16, a benefit for Olmsted’s Necklace of Parks will be held some time Halloween Weekend, time and place to be determined.

Another benefit, for Olmsted’s health fund, will be held Nov. 12 at the Nevada Theatre.

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