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Palo Alto Resident Receives National Sierra Club Award

SAN FRANCISCO – Sept. 23, 2000 – Palo Alto resident George Barnes was among those receiving national awards from the Sierra Club this year.

Barnes received a Special Service Award from the organization for his 30 years of work to help keep the deserts and other areas of the west wild.

A Californian who has been carefully exploring the California desert since the late 1950s, Barnes played a key role in helping draw the boundaries of wilderness areas for the California Desert Protection Act of 1994, landmark legislation that increased the levels of protection on 9 million acres of land by creating two national parks, one national preserve and 69 Bureau of Land Management wilderness areas.

"It would not be wrong to think that one million of those acres were due to George Barnes," said Elden Hughes, chair of the Sierra Club’s California/Nevada Regional Conservation Committee (CNRCC).

Barnes chairs the CNRCC’s Death Valley Task Force. For many years, he has monitored Death Valley National Monument – now Death Valley National Park – for activities that would have unacceptable impact on the park. He also has been active in monitoring and guiding the California Off-Highway Vehicle Recreation Program to lessen the impact these vehicles have on our fragile wildlands.

In the past few years, Barnes has been working to document and map proposed new wilderness areas in California and Nevada. In California, he has mapped the White Mountains, a 14,000-foot high range parallel to and east of the Sierra Nevada. His Nevada inventory work has included the Pequops and several other remote mountain ranges.

The Sierra Club, which was founded in 1892 by John Muir, is the country’s oldest and largest grassroots environmental organization. It currently has more than 600,000 members. For more information on the Sierra Club, visit their web site at

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