Dr. Karl Hinrichs walked door to door in Swall Meadows in 2001, knocking and waiting for answers. He wanted to talk to his neighbors about a new organization that he was helping to found – Eastern Sierra Land Trust. He wanted everyone’s input, and he wanted the neighborhood’s support.
Karl Hinrichs and his wife Laura were among the first conservation leaders who started ESLT, alongside Ralph and Lyn Haber, Stephen Ingram and Karen Ferrell-Ingram, and Rick Kattelman. Karl had first owned property in the Swall Meadows area in 1988, and moved there to live full time in 1999. He cared deeply for Eastern Sierra wildlife and especially for their local Round Valley mule deer herd.
By the time they moved permanently to Swall Meadows in 1999, he and Laura had grown concerned for the herd’s future. Could development crowd the deer out of their migration corridor, of which Swall Meadows was part? This was when Karl began to talk to neighbors, and to search for ways to protect the herd.
The community decided to establish Eastern Sierra Land Trust in 2001 as a way of protecting critical wildlife habitat forever. As a founding ESLT board member, Karl led efforts to make sure that ESLT involved the public and did not let the concerns or hopes of neighbors go unheard. While his tireless wife Laura lobbied on behalf of ESLT in Sacramento, he continued to work locally, imbuing ESLT with a community-minded spirit that we continue to cultivate today.
Dr. Karl Hinrichs passed away on October 3rd, 2018. His initiative helped launched our vital conservation work, and we continue to enact his vision as we protect more and more acres of land for our wildlife. Thanks to Karl, we are all working together to keep the Eastern Sierra thriving for generations to come.