About Us

Who We Are: The Conservancy is a non-profit, citizen-based organization with a membership base of several hundred individuals and families. New members are warmly invited join (click here) or to receive our email messages free of charge (click here).

Our Mission: The Claremont Canyon Conservancy is a catalyst for the long-term protection and restoration of the canyon's natural environment and an advocate for comprehensive fire safety along its wildland/urban interface.

What We Do:  The Conservancy works closely with public and private property owners and various government agencies to ensure the best possible stewardship of the canyon as a whole.  We support educational programs designed to improve fire safety and seek out the most effective measures that private property owners can take to protect their own properties from wildfire.  The  Conservancy supports and actively conducts strategic fuel reduction projects in the canyon.  We promote stewardship through general weed management to help restore the natural balance in the various ecosystems within the watershed, through educational programs that increase public awareness and appreciation of the canyon, and through advocacy for improved public access. 

Our Board

Our Board: The Board of Directors is an all volunteer, working board consisting of 12 members.  Each Director takes on at least one staff position and/or sits on at least one board committee.  The full board meets quarterly and an Executive Committee meets monthly to make operational decisions within the guidelines set out by the Board.

image sample Tim Wallace, President: "Born outside of Chicago, I've always been involved with natural resources and the policies and actions revolving around them. Ranched and logged for six years in Oregon (where my father was born) - then turned to academics at Oregon State University, UN Reno, Purdue and have been at UC Berkeley since 1963. I've worked in the White House (Sr. Economist on the Council of Economic advisors) on agricultural matters, and was Director of California's Department of Food and Agriculture (the agency responsible for all legislation and regulation concerning the state's food producers and many other aspects of the food system). I've done consulting abroad in Europe, Latin America, Africa and the Far East. Being directly active in the community based Claremont Canyon Conservancy affords me an opportunity to do something that needs doing and will help restore the Canyon to the prestigious position it deserves".

image sample Joseph H. Engbeck Jr., Vice-President, is the author of five books and many other publications about the history and natural history of California and the American West. He has been actively involved in the environmental movement since 1960 and is currently a councilor of the Save-the-Redwoods League and a board member of Save San Francisco Bay Association. He was a trustee of the California Historical Society for six years and helped organize People for Open Space in the 1960s before joining the California Department of Parks and Recreation where he was a writer, editor, and manager of the State Park System's publications program. He is a founder and past president of the Claremont-Elmwood Neighborhood Association and co-chair of the Friends of Claremont Canyon.

image sample Marilyn Goldhaber, Secretary, is a native of Oakland and a graduate of UC Berkeley with degrees in mathematics and biostatistics. She began her love of Claremont Canyon in the 1970s when she and her husband Nat were students and resided in a little farm house in the mid-canyon just above Gelston Road. There, the Goldhabers took care of the land and managed to raise a few goats in pursuit of defensible space (and a little fresh cheese). The property eventually sold to the East Bay Regional Park District and the Goldhabers moved down the canyon to Stonewall Road, where they now enjoy a hillside garden full of live oaks and other native California plant species. Marilyn became interested in fire ecology, wildland management and native plant restoration after the 1991 Great Fire in the Oakland Hills. She along with eleven others formed a neighborhood task force to study the matter and eventually in 2001 founded the Claremont Canyon Conservancy. Marilyn is currently membership coordinator and co-editor of the Conservancy's newsletter as well as Secretary of the Board. Marilyn and her husband have triplet sons who are in their early 20s. Her previous professional work includes directing research projects at the Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program in Oakland, California in the 1980s and early 1990 and serving as a data analyst at the departments of health in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and Berkeley, California before that.

image sample Barry Pilger, Treasurer, is a fourth generation Nebraskan, raised in state's panhandle ranch country. After graduation from the University of Nebraska, he moved to the Bay Area and soon after built his first house in Buckingham canyon in 1977, and constructed his second post fire in 1992. After the 1991 fire, he was asked to join the City of Oakland's builder advisory panel, convened to streamline rebuilding of the north hills. He later served on the city's citizen's Budget Advisory Committee, co-chaired the Oakland Wildfire Prevention District campaign and now serves on the district 's advisory committee. Now broker, principal and Realtor of Stafford Real Estate and Stafford Mortgage, Barry has served as president of the North Hills Phoenix Association, treasurer and member of the Executive Committee for the World Affairs Council of Northern California and treasurer of the San Francisco Merola Opera Program. He has served as head of human resources for several Bay Area firms and has been a general contractor for over 20 years. He is a private pilot and holds an instrument rating. He has been married to third generation Bay Area native Catherine Moss for more than 30 years.

image sample Steven Holtzman: Steve Holtzman is currently a Partner with the law firm of Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP. Prior to joining the firm, Mr. Holtzman was a Trial Attorney with the Antitrust Division of the United States Department of Justice, in San Francisco. Among other things, while with the DOJ, he was a senior member of the trial and investigative team in United States v. Microsoft Corporation.

Mr. Holtzman's current practice focuses on antitrust, intellectual property, and other complex litigation, with a particular focus on high technology and communications matters. He has extensive antitrust, intellectual property and securities experience in matters involving the telecommunications, computer hardware and software, and health care industries. His recent cases include Perry v. Schwarzenegger (constitutional challenge to California's Proposition 8); Oracle v. SAP (copyright infringement); and Oracle v. Google (copyright and patent infringement).

Mr. Holtzman is also on the Board of Directors and is a two-time alumnus of the Student Conservation Association. As part of his SCA work, Mr. Holtzman has a substantial background in trail maintenance and construction. He regularly contributes to numerous environmental and conservation causes.

image sample Jon Kaufman and his wife Jill Horowitz have lived on Alvarado Road for more than 25 years. Jon is executive vice president and a partner at Solem & Associates, a San Francisco-based public relations, public affairs and public opinion research firm. Jon's work involves advising clients on public policy issues and working with public officials throughout the Bay Area. He also heads SA|Opinion Research, the firm's research division. Land use, energy, public utilities and transportation are areas on which he has focussed. In the non-profit arena, Jon is a board member of J, the Jewish community weekly newspaper and is a former board member and past president of the Ann Martin Children's Center, which provides psychotherapy and tutoring to low-income children in the East Bay. His interest in wildlife conservation and the environment date from his childhood growing up in Cleveland, Ohio where is father was a city planner and worked to save local parkland from a proposed interstate freeway construction.

image sample Jerry Kent: Jerry Kent is formerly with the East Bay Regional Park District. He began his career as a park workman in 1962 at Redwood Regional Park, and retired 41 years later as the Assistant General Manager of Operations. During most of his tenure he oversaw fire related vegetation management programs District-wide. He had a front-row-seat during the expansion of the Park District from six parks that totaled 6,000 acres in 1962 to 65 parks and 98,000 acres today. Jerry was instrumental in various blue ribbon panels and consortia. He staffed the 1982 East Bay Hills Blue Ribbon Fire Hazard Reduction Planning Study. He was the Park District's representative while developing the East Bay Hills Vegetation Management Consortium Fire Hazard Mitigation Program and Plan following the 1991 Tunnel Fire. Jerry also was a principal staff member with the Hills Emergency Forum between 1992 and 2003. Jerry has studied the problem of fires in the East Bay Hills and lead public discussions since 1991 on what might be done to prevent them. Jerry retired from the Park District in 2003, but continued working toward fire safety in the East Bay Hills, serving on the Executive Committee of the Measure CC Campaign that was passed by voters in 2004.

Dick White Dick White is a professor of electrical engineering at Berkeley, specializing in sensors. He has co-authored two technical reference books and an introductory textbook. In spite of its risks, he lives on Panoramic Hill because of its proximity to the open spaces of Strawberry and Claremont Canyons and the view. Watching the 1970 and 1991 Berkeley-Oakland fires from atop the Hill motivated him to help organize neighborhood emergency preparedness activities, to serve on the Berkeley Fire Commission for 8 years, and now to be a member of the Berkeley Disaster Council. In the mid '90s, working with the Berkeley Fire Department, he wrote and produced the short video "Fire and the Urban-Wildland Transition", which was aimed at informing people about the importance of the transitional zone and dispelling the notion that a protective buffer zone must be sterile and ugly. His two sons are salaried environmentalists, one an expert on fish and the other on birds.


image sample Fred Booker:  Although Fred first lived in Oakland in 1972, he did not call it home until 1990 when he relocated from Humboldt County to marry his sweetheart Blythe Mickelson.  One year later, Fred and his wife lost their home to the 1991 Oakland fire.  After first rebuilding that home in Hiller Highlands, they later built their current house on an empty fire lot on Grand View Drive in 2006.  Fred, a geomorphologist, has broad-based experience ranging from coral reefs in Tahiti and eucalyptus forests in Australia--to Redwood forests and high mountain deserts in California.  Closer to home, Fred has worked on a wide range of environmental issues, including salmon and trout habitat loss in Northern California rivers, the effects of logging on erosion and landslide generation in Redwood National Park, numerous wetland restorations projects in California with Philip Williams & Associates, and, finally, the effects of fire on the landscape and the erosional impacts at the wildland-urban interface.  He has authored several papers on wildland fires and did his thesis work at UC Berkeley on Landscape and Management Response to Wildfires in California.  Fred has spent countless hours in Claremont and Gwin canyons following the 1991 fire and has recently found that these canyons are his favorite places to hike and connect with nature, as they can be reached without getting into a car.  Currently, Fred is a volunteer with UC’s Master Gardener Program and can be found at the Alameda County offices manning the hot line help desk on Thursdays. 


image sample Bob Strayer:  I was born in eastern Ohio, where I grew up on a farm. I moved to the Bay Area at a young age in 1977. I have had many careers, from farmer to fire equipment; construction to computer programmer/developer; amateur scientist to advanced neuromuscular massage therapist. Over the years I have moved around a great deal, but have spent most of my life here in the Bay Area. Growing up on a farm taught me the importance of stewardship for the land. Growing up poor taught me the importance of service to the community. When I moved to the Claremont Canyon in 2010, I discovered Garber Park, a 1920's park that had been neglected for decades. The park was being restored by the Garber Park Stewards and the Claremont Canyon Conservancy, so I joined in the effort. Restoring our parks and open spaces and providing access to the public enriches our communities. I am honored to be a member of such a distinguished board and be afforded the opportunity to help carry out our mission statement as a steward of the Claremont Canyon.