New Board Member William Tweed

A native Californian, environmental historian William C. Tweed attended the College of the Sequoias, the University of the Pacific, and Texas Christian University, where he earned both master’s and doctorate degrees in history.

For more than thirty years he pursued a career with the United States National Park Service, where he worked at various times as a historian, ranger-naturalist, park planner, concessions management specialist, public affairs specialist, and park program manager. He spent most of these years at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, California, enjoying the final decade of his career there as the parks’ Chief Naturalist. In that role he oversaw not only the parks’ interpretive programming but also its visitor center design, wayside exhibit, and public affairs programs.

In the years since he left Federal service in 2006, Dr. Tweed has pursued his interests as an author, newspaper columnist, field naturalist, lecturer, and consultant. During these years he also served on the Board of Directors of both the Sequoia Natural History Association (2006-2010) and the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks Foundation (2006-2012). He spent time as chairman of both organizations.

Dr. Tweed is the author or co-author of a number of books, including Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, the Story Behind the Scenery; Challenge of the Big Trees, A Resource History of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks; Recreation Site Planning and Improvements in National Forests, 1891-1942; Death Valley and the Northern Mohave, A Visitor’s Guide; and Uncertain Path: A Search for the Future of National Parks.

Late 2016 saw two new books by Dr. Tweed published: King Sequoia: The Tree that Inspired a Nation, Created Our National Park System, and Changed the Way We think About Nature (Heyday), and Challenge of the Big Trees: A History of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, Revised Edition (George Thompson Books).

His latest book, Granite Pathways: A History of the Wilderness Trails of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, is scheduled for publication in the summer of 2021 by the Sequoia Parks Conservancy.

Dr. Tweed resides in Bend, Oregon, with his wife Frances.

Welcome, New President Alan Contreras

It is no small thing to follow someone with Gary Ivey’s reputation and longevity into the role of President of Friends of Malheur NWR. I am fortunate in that the organization is in good shape both financially and structurally, with excellent new board members coming on (see the introduction of Bill Tweed in this issue). Much of this stability and capacity is the result of several steady hands on the tiller, all of whom remain active on the board. Gary himself will be involved on projects that interest him and remain on the board. Janelle, our remarkably active and effective Executive Director, continues to improve our services and programs.

I served on the FOMR board ten years ago and more recently as Secretary, so I have a handle on where we have been and are going. It’s a very bright picture. Membership continues to rise (we hope to pass 1,000 this year) and fundraising has been excellent. This combination enables us to contemplate some exciting new projects including a significant tree management and replacement program so that as our ancient trees at HQ, Benson and P-Ranch die off, we can be assured that our grandchildren will enjoy an experience similar to ours. We are also looking at possible new picnic shelters and other improvements recommended by refuge leadership. One of my goals is to increase our mutually supportive work with the Malheur Field Station, operated by our sister nonprofit, the Great Basin Society.

What does this mean to you as a member? First, Thank You! Membership in FOMR is not a small or casual thing. It makes you part of a team of people committed to supporting Malheur as the uniquely valuable place that we all know it is. We appreciate your financial support but we also encourage you to consider volunteering for one or more events at the refuge. We expect fall 2021 and especially late spring 2022 to be times of exceptional need for volunteer support at the Nature Store and for other refuge activities.

Finally, visit. Malheur is not an abstraction, it is a phenomenon. When were you last here? Come again.

Alan Contreras