California’s Ecosystem Network

October 7, 2015

The story of California is a spiral of conifers and sages around huge pockets of granite and serpentine. A folded piece of jeweled earth composed of millions of networks, patterns and living systems.

Click here or downloadable PDF: ecosystems

Regional eco-network patterns irrespective of human overlay by Obi Kaufmann @coyotethunder. click to enlarge


The Central Coast Heritage Act (H.R.4685)

October 1, 2015

the Central Coast Heritage Protection Act (H.R. 4685), legislation will safeguard nearly 250,000 acres of new and expanded wilderness in the Los Padres National Forest and the Carrizo Plain National Monument, protect wild and scenic rivers, and designate the new Condor National Recreation Trail. map by @coyotethunder (click to enlarge)


Map Coastal Heritage (PRINTABLE PDF VERSION)


The permanent protection of these unique and scenic wild lands and rivers will 1) Ensure that residents and farmers alike will have a sustainable source of clean water for communities in Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo countires. 2) Ensure that current and future generations can continue to camp, hike, hunt, fish, see wildlife, horseback ride, rock climb, and backpack in these unique places. 3) Sustain the ecological future of 468 species of wildlife and over 1,200 plant species. 4) protect our region’s tourism industry that attracts visitors from around the globe.

The Five Sacred Peaks of the Bay Area

September 30, 2015

The Five Sacred Peaks of the San Francisco Bay Area

<<< and their old names >>>


  1. Mount Saint Helena in the Mayacamas Mountains  <<< Mount Mayacamas >>>touches the Napa, Sonoma, and Lake counties 4341’
  2. Mount Tamalpais <<< támal páji, literally “west hill” >>> is the highest peak in the Marin Hills. The elevation at the East Peak, its highest point, is 2,574’.
  3. Mount Diablo is a mountain of the Diablo Range, <<< Tuyshtak >>> It is an isolated upthrust peak of 3,849’.
  4. Mount Montara <<< Camino Pedro Cuesta >>> 1898’ Due in part to its biologically isolated location near the end of a peninsula, the mountain has an extensive and unique biodiversity, especially on the serpentine soils of the lower slopes. A number of plant endangered species are found on this mountain, including the rare endemic manzanita Arctostaphylos montaraensis, named for this mountain.
  5. Mount Hamilton <<< Sierra de Santa Isabel >>> 4216’ and two other peaks along its ridge: Mt Copernicus – 4263‘ Mt Kepler – 4213’

According to Miwok and Ohlone narrative history, Mount Diablo was the point of creation. In one surviving story, Mount Diablo and Mount Tamalpais were surrounded by water; from these two islands the creator Coyote and his assistant Eagle-man made Indian people and the world. In another, Molok the Condor brought forth his grandson Wek-Wek the Falcon Hero, from within Mount Diablo.

About 25 independent tribal groups with well-defined territories lived in the East Bay countryside surrounding these mountains. The Chochenyo-speaking Ohlone from Mission San Jose and the East Bay area, called Mt Diablo, Tuyshtak, meaning “at the dawn of time”. The Nisenan of the Sacramento Valley called it Sukkú Jaman, or as Nisenan elder Dalbert Castro once explained, “the place where dogs came from in trade”.

bay area

The Bioregions of California

September 25, 2015

Written and mapped by Obi Kaufmann @coyotethunder


California is a patchwork of dynamic ecostates and bio-republics whose seams are defined by large geomorphic expanses, water and soil courses. To understand the bioregions of California is to understand the story of how California works and how it is assembled.


  1. The conifer forest of the North Coast extend to Southeast Alaska, although the tallest tree in the world, the Coastal Redwood reaches its maximum height near the border of Oregon and then the species stops its northward push.
  2. The Cascade Mountains extend up into Canada and find their southern most progression in Northern California. Defined by lonely, steep volcanoes, the Cascades in California are best defined by Mount Shasta and Mount Lassen, two volcanoes that are not part of the Sierra Nevada.
  3. The Columbia Plateau extends from Washington and Idaho down into Northern California in only a couple of isolated points in the desert. These Basin and Range ecosystems, as they are called are defined by no water course that leads to the sea, but rather, find terminus in the deserts of Nevada.
  4. The historically rich Diablo mountains, home to the missionary road of the Calle Real in the eighteenth century are historically perhaps the most fecund of all California. Home to more than ten thousand people at the time of conquest.
  5. The Santa Lucia Mountains are home to some of the rarest conifers in the world, including the Santa Lucia Fir and the Big Cone Douglas Fir.
  6. While the whole of the Sierra Nevada is approximately four hundred miles long and about sixty miles wide, the High Sierra, the roof of California, is about two hundred miles long and twenty miles wide. This high alpine ecotype is one all its own, subject to its own
    rules and systems: different than the montane envirotypes of the rest of the Sierra Nevada.
  7. The Grapevine. Mount Pinos, where the Transverse, The Coastal and the Sierra Nevada meets, at its terminus at Tehachapi, near the Tejon Pass.
  8. The Wall. Mount Whitney, highest point in the lower 48 states. The Sierra Nevada rises out of the high desert with a straight elevation increase of fourteen thousand feet in just a few miles.
  9. The highest peak in Southern California, Mount Gregornio lies just a few miles north of another 11 foot plus peak, San Jacinto. Together the two peaks represent a gate of sorts that defines the end of the the Transverse Ranges and where the Low Desert meets the High.


Juniper Ridge in Another Escape

July 4, 2015