Danville Express

Perspective - February 2, 2007

The mountain over our shoulder

So many good causes - how does one choose? Donating to food banks, crisis lines, churches, schools are all a good use of our money. But a resident of this area also might want to consider donating to Save Mount Diablo. The mountain is a majestic backdrop to our daily lives, always there for us, no matter what else changes.

Save Mount Diablo was founded in 1971 and since then the protected land has gone from the 6,788 acres contained in Mt. Diablo State Park to 90,000 acres. It wasn't until 1988 that the organization hired its first staff member and even today, with five staff members, volunteers play a large part in its successes.

Volunteers are needed for everything from answering the telephone to leading hikes to being an advocate for Save Mount Diablo. But donations are also needed. The organization adds acreage to the protected areas in many ways, and often it comes down to either purchasing land on the mountain or helping developers buy land elsewhere. Funds are needed for this.

Save Mount Diablo supporter categories are broken into Friend for $35; Trail Blazer, $50; Diablo Donor, $100; Mountain Saver, $250; Peak Guardian, $500; Summit Club, $1,000. The group is also set up to receive tribute and memorial giving, as well as real estate. All members receive a newsletter listing hikes, volunteer opportunities and special events, so a donation is not only a good way to help protect Mount Diablo, it is a good way to learn more about becoming involved in the organization. And its programs are a good way to learn more about the mountain, up close and personal.

It is estimated that people have lived in the San Ramon Valley for 5,000 years, and the Native Americans considered the mountain a powerful and mysterious place; the Spaniards arrived in the late 1700s; the Gold Rush and fertile land brought more settlers. The Valley saw rapid expansion after the freeway opened in 1964. Through it all, Mount Diablo has been standing, a sentinel changing with the seasons. This surely is worth a donation to the organization that works so hard to save it along with the wildlife it nurtures.


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