The 3,849 foot-high peak of Mount Diablo is a signature Bay Area landmark. Standing sentinel in eastern Contra Costa county overlooking the Bay Area to the west and the San Joaquin Valley to the east, the mountain’s summit became one of California’s first state parks, in 1921. Today, Mount Diablo is home to over 650 species of flowering plants and a tremendous variety of wild animals. The preservation and expansion of open space on and around Mount Diablo has been the mission of the nonprofit citizens’ group Save Mount Diablo for the past 30 years. The organization will celebrate its 30th anniversary with a gala fundraiser at the Regional Center for the Arts in Walnut Creek on Monday, December 10. The evening will feature a new 3-d slide show by photographer Stephen Joseph (whose photos appear in “The Vale of Tesla” in this issue). Awardswill be presented to 30 individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the preservation of the mountain. Save Mount Diablo (SMD) was founded in 1971 in response to a lack of adequate funding for the park by the state government and to development proposals threatening the mountain’s western and northern slopes. The original founders of SMD, Dr. Mary Bowerman and Arthur Bonwell, are both still active in the organization. “My dream is that the whole of Mount Diablo, including its foothills, will remain open space…and that the visual and natural integrity will be sustained,” says Bowerman. Since the organization’s founding, the number of acres of publicly owned open space on and around the mountain has increased from 6,788 to more than 81,000, including more than 7,000 acres added to the park over the past five years. For more information on SMD’s anniversary and its work to preserve one of the Bay Area’s significant natural areas, call (925) 947-3535 or visit www.savemountdiablo.org.
Bay Nature magazine ◦ October-December 2001