Wednesday, July 5, 2006 @ 2:47 PM

Recent news from the slopes of Mt. Whitney is alarming. In May, Inyo County Superior Court ruled in favor of a proposed development at the base of the highest mountain in the continental United States, dealing a serious blow to the fight for sustainable development in the shadow of Mt. Whitney.

The local newspaper, the Inyo Register, ran a front page story on May 9th, 2006, stating that the recent court ruling has “cleared the way for completion of the proposed 27 unit Whitney Portal Preserve Project.” The developer has publicly expressed his intention to move as quickly as possible through the county’s approval process, possibly making some of the lots available for sale before the year is up.

Some people clearly consider this a “done deal,” as a quick look at the developer's website – http://www.portalpreserve.com — will reveal.


SRVA: Eastern Sierra Advocates for Smart Growth has been fighting for the past year and more to stop this proposed development that threatens to mar the pristine vista of sage flats and sculptured granite boulders rising into craggy Sierra Nevada peaks.

This unstaffed grassroots organization filed the original lawsuit and subsequent restraining order that has kept the proposed Whitney Portal Preserve Project on hold since its initial approval in June 2005. SRVA is continuing to work for viable alternatives: to bring the developer and conservation partners to the table together to find a mutual resolution, to continue watchdogging the development process, and to file an appeal protesting the misguided court decision in favor of development.

SRVA needs your help to save Mt. Whitney – an incredible landscape that was the backdrop for innumerable John Wayne westerns and is a treasured recreational destination for millions – from becoming the site of another luxury subdivision in a formerly pristine Sierra setting. It will cost $20,000 to file the appeal necessary to stop the proposed development until a mutually satisfactory solution can be found.

The Sierra Fund has been working closely with SRVA and Sierra Watch to raise the funds needed to sustain the campaign to save Mt. Whitney. Last fall you responded to our request with extraordinary generosity, helping us raise close to $45,000 to file the original lawsuit and restraining order.

Now we are asking you to help finish the job, and be a part of the effort to save Mt. Whitney.

We're asking for your help TODAY with the following:

1. Click here to contribute online now so that SRVA can appeal to the court to stop the proposed development. Your tax-deductible contribution of $10,000, $1,000, $100 or $10 will be used entirely for this effort immediately.

SRVA’s goal is to raise $20,000 by mid-August. The Sierra Fund’s goal is to help raise the first half of that amount – $10,000 – within the next 72 hours.

If you can help us raise $10,000 for SRVA before the end of this week, SRVA can move forward with its pro-active campaign to save Mt. Whitney, confident that all the pieces are in place to file the appeal in August.

SRVA is calling this effort “Footprints and Photographs,” in keeping with the ideal that the proposed site remain disturbed only by footprints. Your tax-deductible donation of $35, $65, or $125 will be recognized with a matted, signed 4×6/5×7/8×10 photo of the site taken by one of SRVA’s members. Donors of $500 or more will receive a larger framed print.

2. Forward this email to three friends who share your love for the Sierra Nevada and our concern that a future of luxury subdivisions at Mt. Whitney, in the Eastern Sierra, and throughout the region must be challenged.

Mt. Whitney is an icon of the Sierra, and an irreplaceable and increasingly threatened resource for the entire nation. Its fate should not be determined by developers and land speculators from Los Angeles. Please join this effort today and contribute now.

For the Sierra —

Elizabeth “Izzy” Martin

For questions about giving to this effort, please feel free to call me at 530.265.8454, ext. 11.

To learn more about SRVA: Eastern Sierra Advocates for Smart Growth, log on to www.srva.net or www.savethemountain.org, or contact Christine Hancock at chancoc1@hotmail.com or Jennifer Fenton at srva@redjellyfish.net. SRVA’s address is: 757 Rome Drive, Bishop, CA 93514.