Thank you for joining us in honoring Huey at the first annual
Huey Johnson Legacy Walk
On Sunday, January 9th, 2022, family, friends, and disciples from far and near gathered to honor RRI’s founder, Huey Johnson, at the first annual Huey Johnson Legacy walk. We walked the Tennessee Valley Trail, a magnificent section of the Marin Headlands that Huey helped to save from sprawling development when he purchased the land in 1972 as the Western Regional Director of the Nature Conservancy.
It was wonderful to be together at last and to honor Huey. We lost Huey in July 2020. We have dearly missed him and since his memorial, we’ve been looking for an opportunity to get together. Huey was re-energized by connecting with nature and enjoyed walking every day. So, it felt just right for us to gather a few days after what would have been his 89th birthday–and take a walk in this place that Huey loved and saved for all of us.
Huey and Sue moved to California in 1963. He had become disenchanted with his PHD program in Michigan, “learning more and more about less and less”. Upon seeing a job announcement for “The Nature Conservancy’s first Western Regional Director” outside his advisor’s office–he made an instant decision that changed the course of his life and career. He dropped out of the doctoral program in biology and talked his way into his dream job. Sue and Huey packed their cars and drove across the country. They spent their first days in California camping on Muir Beach, in Marin County. Over the next decade or so Huey would work on hundreds of land saving projects with the Nature Conservancy and then the Trust for Public Land. Whenever he looked back on these first days–he would marvel at the thought that he saved much of the surrounding land that he and Sue admired from their campsite.
In 1978, Huey had made the transition from the Trust for Public Land to state government. He was invited by his friend and founder of Whole Earth Catalogue, Stewart Brand, to deliver a “5-minute speech”, as part of a series that would be published in the “Co-Evolution Quarterly”. Huey delivered his speech near this very place where we gathered for the Legacy Walk.
We read aloud a transcription of Huey’s speech. Huey’s words from 1978 still resonate and inspire us. We have Huey to thank for so much of the wild and beautiful landscapes, trails and parks that we, the public, enjoy today.
To read and download and transcription of that 1978 speech CLICK HERE
After reading Huey’s speech, we also acknowledged that we are walking on the unceded ancestral lands of the Coast Miwok people of present-day Marin and southern Sonoma counties.
We opened up the circle for other attendees to share their reflections. Deep appreciation to George Jay, Susan Ives, Kirk Marckwald, Jason Kibbey, Tyler Johnson, Megan Johnson, and everyone else who shared heartfelt reflections and personal stories.
Under clearing skies we continued our walk to the beach and promised to gather again next year–on the first Sunday after Huey’s birthday, January 8, 2023.
Thank you again for joining us, and be sure to make your calendars for next year,
Deborah Moskowitz, President
the Resource Renewal Institute